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IV. V. VI. 




[ vii ] 


o F 

IV. V. VI. 



DEDICATION of Books IV. V. VI. in 1765, to Lord 
Mansfield - pp. 1 12 

Dedication to the First Edition of Books IV. V. VI. iu 
1740 to the Jews - - pp. 13 27 

PREFACE to the First Edition, in 1740 - pp. 2834 
- - D* - - to the Edition of 1758 - - pp. 3568 



SECT. I. INTRODUCTION, shewing that the universal 
Pretence to Revelation, proves the Truth of some, and 
particularly of the Jewish - pp. 69 78 

SECT. II. Enters on the Third Proposition. Some general 
reflections on the high antiquity of Egypt ; and of the 
equal extravagance of both parties in their attempts to 
advance or depress that antiquity - - pp. 78 84 



SECT. III. The high antiquity of Egypt proved from 
Scripture : And from the ancient Greek historians, sup 
ported and confirmed by Scripture. In the course of 
this inquiry the rise and progress of the art of medicine 
is treated of and explained - pp.84 116 

SECT. IV. The high antiquity of Egypt proved from 
their Hieroglyphics. Their nature, original, and various 
kinds, explained. Proved to be the original of the art of 
Onirocritics or interpretation of Dreams, and likewise of 
JB rule-worship. In this inquiry is contained the history 
of the various modes of information by Speech and 
Writing : And of the various modes of ancient idolatry, 
in the order they arose from one another, pp. 116 214 

SECT. V. Sir Isaac Newton s chronology of the Egyptian 
empire confuted, and shewn to contradict all sacred and 
profane antiquity, and even the nature of things. In the 
course of- this Dissertation, the causes of that infinite 
confusion in the ancient Greek history arid mythology 
are inquired into and explained - - pp. 215 283 

BECT. VI. Proves that Moses was skilled in all the learning 
of Egypt, and the Israelites violently inclined to all their 
superstitions. That the Ritual Law was instituted partly 
in opposition to those superstitions, and partly in com 
pliance to the People s prejudices. That neither that 
Eituai nor Moses s Learning is any objection to the 
divinity of his Mission But a high confirmation of it. 
In which Herman Witsius a arguments to the contrary 
are examined and confuted ; and the famous Prophecy 
in the twentieth chapter of Ezekiel explained and vin 
dicated against the absurd interpretation of the Rabbins 
and Dr. Shuck ford - pp. 283365 

NOTES on the Fourth Book - " P- 

[What follows, is contained in the V th and VI th Volumes.] 





SECT. I. Little light to be got from the systems of Chri*- 
tian writers, or the objections of Deists, or from the 
Rabbins, or from the Cabalisrs, concerning the true 
nature of the Jewish RepublicThe Hebrew People 
separated from the rest of mankind not as favourite, but 
to preserve the knowledge of the true God amidst an 
idolatrous world,-Vindicated from the calumnious false 
hoods ot the Poet Voltaire. 

SECT. ii. Proves the Jewish Government to be a Theo- 
This form shewn to be necessary : There bein<* 
no other, by which opinions could be justly punished by 
civil Laws : And without such Laws against idolatrv, the 
Mosaic Region could not be supported.-!^ equity 
Of punishing opinions under a Theocracy, explained. 
Bayle censured.-Foster eonfuted.-The Theocracy easily 
introduced as founded on a prevailing notion of tutelar* 
Demes.-An objection of Mr. Collins to the truth o f.l 
Revelation examined and confuted. The easy intro 
duction of the Theocracy, it is shewn, occasioned a, 
easy a defect, from the Laws of it.-The inquiry into 
the reason ot tlis , eadg to ftn ^^.^ rf ^ * 

of he Jew.shidolatry.-Lord Bolingbroke s accusation 

Law of Moses examined and exposed. 
SECT. III. Treats of the duration of tie Theocracy^ 
Shewn to have continued till the coming of CH.IST - 
3 arguments of Spencer and Le Clerc to the contrary 
cammed -The Prophecy of SAiloA explained: 


SnfuTed U>S COU1 Se UP a " eXamined and 

SECT. IV. The Couseguences^ Theocracy considered - 
Shewn that it must be administered by an extraordinary 
Providence, equally dispensing temporal Rewards and 
Punishments, both to the Community and to Particulars 



That Scripture gives this representation of GOD S 

government. And that there are many favourable cir 
cumstances in the character of the Jewish People, to 
induce an impartial Examiner to believe that represen 
tation to be true. 

SECT. V. Shews, that as temporal Rewards and Punish 
ments were the proper sanction of the Jewish Law, so, 
there were no other ; Moses entirely omitting the Doc 
trine of a future State. That this omission was not 
accidental, but designed; and of a thing well known by 
him to be of high importance to Society. Proved from 
several circumstances in the book of Genesis, and from 
the Law of punishing the crimes of Parents on their 
Posterity, which was to supply the want of the Doctrine 
of a future state. The nature and equity of this Law 
explained, and defended against Unbelievers. It is then 
shewn that as Moses taught not the Doctrine of a future 
State of Rewards and Punishments, so neither had the 
ancient Jews any knowledge of it. Proved from the 
"books of the Old Testament. 

SECT. VI. Proves the same point from the books of the 
New Testament. What notion the early Jews had con* 
cerning the Soul, explained. 

APPENDIX and NOTES to the Fifth Book. 




SECT. I. States the Question, shews the Adversaries of 
this Work to have much mistaken it. And that the true 
state of the question alone is a sufficient answer to all 

SECT. II. Enters on an examination of the Texts brought 
from the Old Testament ; first from the book of JOB 
, which 


is proved to be an allegoric Poem, written on ths 
return from the Captivity, and representing the Circum 
stances of the People of that time. The famous words, 
I know that my Redeemer liveth, &c. shewn to signify, ia 
their literal sense, the hopes of a temporal deliverance ouiv- 

SECT. III. Contains an examination of the rest of the 
Texts urged from the Old Testament. 

SECT. IV. Contains an examination of the Texts pro 
duced from the New Testament, in which the nature of 
the Apostolic Reasonings against the Errors of Jewish 
Converts is explained and illustrated. 

NOTES to the first four Sections. 

SECT. V. The agreement of the Proposition of no future 
State in the Mosaic Dispensation, with the Vllth Article 
of the Church of England evinced. That the Old 
Fathers looked for more than transitory Promises, illus 
trated in the famous case of ABRAHAM, where it is 
proved that the command to offer Isaac was merely an 
information, in a representative Action instead of Words, 
of the Redemption of Mankind by the great Sacrifice 
of CHRIST. Shewn how this Interpretation overturns 
all the infidel objections against the truth of this part of 
Abraham s history. 

SECT. VI. To support the foregoing Interpretation, The 
Original, Nature, and Use of TYPICAL RITES and SK- 
CONDARY SENSES in Prophecies are inquired into. In 
the course of which Inquiry, the Principles of Mr, 
Collins s book concerning the Grounds and Reasons of 
the Christian Religion are examined and confuted, - 
and likewise the Reasoning of Dr. Sykes against all 
double Senses of Prophecies in his book intitied, The 
Principles and Connexion of Natural and Revealed Reli 
gion, 8cc. The Use and Importance of these Question* 
to the subject of The Divine Legation explained. The 
CONCLUSION of the argument, with a recapitulation 
f it. 


P L A T. E S 



p. 150. last line, after well, insert as. 

PLATE I. A Mexican Picture History of the V To /ace 
51 years Reign of their Monarch Tenuch. > p. 119 
From Put chas. 

PLATE II. Specimen of the Hieroglyphics of 7 ^^ 
the North Americans. From Lajiiau. I 

PLATE III. Characters found upon Rocks in 7 ^^ 
Siberia, by Staklenberg. 3 

PLATE IV. Part of the North Side of the) 12Q 
Ramesssean Obelisk. From Kircher. i 

PLATE V. A Specimen of the more Modern -\ 

Chinese Characters, taken from their more V p. 124 
Ancient. From Kircher. } 

PLATE VI. Scheme, shewing the Change from 1 

Analogic Figures to Marks by Institution, in > p. 129 
Chinese Writing. From Martinus Martlnius.) 

PLATE VII. [Two Plates; one marked NI.l 
the other, N II. & N III.] Ancient Egyp- I 
tian Hieroglyphic Figures and Letters. From I 
Count Callus. -* 

PLATE VIII. Part of one Side of the Floren- 7 l 
tine Obelisk. From Kircher. f 

PLATE IX. Fig. i. from the Bembine Table ; ^ 
Fig. 2. a Mummy; and Fig. 3. the Pectoral I 
Cloth of the Mummy, on which is depicted v>. p. 199 
the manner of embalming. From Kircher s 1 

PLATE X. Figures from the Bembine Table, | 
illustrative of the Idolatry of Egypt. 3 








THE purpose of this Address is not to make a re 
turn for the favours I have received from you, for they 
are many and great; but to add one more security to 
myself, from the malice of the present and the forget- 
fulness of future times. A purpose, which though it 
may be thought less sober than the other, is certainly 
not more selfish. In plain terms, I would willingly con 
trive to live, and go down to posterity under the pro 
tection of your Name and Character; from which, that 
Posterity, in the administration of public justice, must 
receive their instruction ; and in the duties of private 
life, if they have any virtuous ambition, will take their 
example. But let not this alarm you. I intend not to 
be your Panegyrist. To praise you for Moquence, 
would be to praise you for a thing below your Character, 
unless it were for that species of Eloquence which 
MILTON describes, and You have long practised. 
" TRUE ELOQUENCE, says he, I find to be none, but 
" the serious and hearty love of Truth : And that, whose 
" mind soever is fully possessed with a fervent desire 
VOL. IV, B to 


" to know good things, and with the dearest Charity to 
" infuse the knowledge of them into Others, WHEX 
f( SUCH A MAN WOULD SPEAK, his words, like so many 
" nimble and airy Servitors, trip about him at command, 
" and in well -ordered Files, as he would wish, fall aptly 
" into their own places." 

To live in the voice and memory of Men is the flat 
tering dream of every adventurer in Letters ; and for 
ine, who boast the rare felicity of being honqured with 
the friendship of two or three superior Characters, Men 
endowed with virtue to atone for a bad age, and of abi 
lities to make a bad age a good one, for me not to aspire 
to the best mode of this ideal existence, the being carried 
down to remote ages along with those who will never 
die, would be a strange insensibility to human glory. 

But as the protection I seek from your Lordship is 
not like those blind Asylums founded by Superstition 
to skreen iniquity from civil vengeance, but of the nature 
of a TEMPLE OF JUSTICE, to vindicate and support the 
Innocent, You will expect to know the claim I have to 
it; and how, on being seized with that epidemic malady 
of idle, visionary men, the projecting to instruct and re 
form the Public, I came to stand in need of it. 

I had lived to see it is a plain and artless tale I 
have to tell I had lived to see what Lawgivers have 
always seemed to dread, as the certain prognostic of 
public ruin, that fatal Crisis when RELIGION HATH 


I had observed, almost the rise and origin, but surely 
very much of the progress of this evil : for it was neither 
so rapid to elude a distinct view, nor yet so slow as to en 
danger one s forgetting or not observing the relation 
which its several parts bore to one another: And to 
trace the steps of this evil may not be altogether useless 
to those, whoever they may be, \vho, as the Instru 
ments of Providence, -are destined to counterwork its 
bad effects. 

Tiie most painful circumstance in this relation is (as 
your Lordship will feel), that the mischief began amongst 
our friends ; by men who loved their Country ; but 
were too eagerly intent on one part only of their Object, 
the security of its CIVIL LIBERTY. 



To trace up this matter to its source, we need go no 
further back than to the happy Accession of that illus 
trious House to whom we owe all which is in the power 
of grateful Monarchs, at the head of a free People, to 
bestow ; I mean, the full enjoyment of the common rights 
of Subjects. 

It fortuned that at this time, some warm friends of 
the Accession, newly gotten into power, had too has 
tily perhaps suspected that the CHURCH (or at least 
that party of CHURCHMEN which had usurped the 
name) was become inauspicious to the sacred /Era 
from whence we were to date the establishment of our 
civil happiness ; and therefore deemed it good policy to 
lessen the credit of a body of men, who had been 
long in high reverence with the People, and who had so 
lately and so scandalously abused their influence in the 
opprobrious affair of Sacheverell. To this end they in 
vited some learned men, who in the preceding reign 
had served the common cause, to take up the pen once 
more against these its most pestilent enemies, the JA 
COBITE CLERGY. They readily assumed the task, and 
did it so effectually, that under the professed design of 
confuting and decrying the usurpations of a Popish Hie 
rarchy, they virtually deprived the CHURCH of every 
power and privilege, which, as a simple Society, she 
had a claim to ; and, on the matter, delivered her up 
gagged and bound, as the rebel-Creature of the State, 
Their success (with the prejudice of Power, and what 
is still stronger, the power of Prejudice, on their side) 
became yet the easier, as the Tory Clergy, who opposed 
.these Erastian notions, so destructive to the very being 
of a Church, reasoned and disputed against the Inno 
vators on the principles commonly received, but indeed 
supported on no sounder a bottom than the authority 
of Papal, or (if they like it better) of Puritanical usur 
pations : principles, to speak without reserve, ill founded 
in themselves, and totally inconsistent with the free ad 
ministration of Civil government. 

In this then, that is, in humbling disaffected Church 
men, the friends of Liberty and the Accession carried 
their point. But in conducting a purpose so laudable 
at any time, and so necessary at that time, They had, 

B 2, as 


as we observe, gone much too far ; for instead of re 
ducing the Church within its native bounds, and thereby 
preserving it from its two greatest dishonours, the be 
coming factious, or the being made the tool of Faction, 
which was ail that true Politics required, arid all perhaps 
that these Politicians then thought of; their Instruments, 
by discrediting every right it had, and even stripping it 
of some of them, in a little time brought it into general 

But this was not the worst. These Enemies of ob 
noxious Churchmen found much assistance in the forward 
carriage of the Enemies of Religion itself ; who, at this 
time, under pretence of seconding the views of good 
Patriots, and serving the State against the encroach 
ments of Church-power, took all occasions to vent their 
malice against Revelation itself: And Passion, inflamed 
by opposition, mixing with Politics throughout the course 
of this affair, these Lay-writers were connived at ; and, 
to mortify rebellious Churchmen still more, even cried 
up for their free reasonings against Religion, just as the 
Clergy- writers had been, for their exploits against 
Church -government. And one man in particular, the 
Author of a well-known book called The Independent 
Whig, early a favourite, and to the last a Pensioner, 
carried on, in the most audacious and insulting manner, 
these two several attacks, together : A measure sup 
ported perhaps in the execution, by its coinciding with 
some Statesmen s private opinions : though the most 
trite maxims of Government might have taught such to 
separate their private from their public Character. How 
ever, certain it is, that the attack never ceased operating 
till all these various kinds of Free-writing were gotten 
into the hands of the PEOPLE. 

And now the business was done: and the sober 
Friends of the Government were become, before they 
were aware, the Dupes of their own policy. In their 
endeavours to take off the influence of a Church, or 
rather of a party of Churchmen inauspicious to a free 
State, they had occasioned at least, the loosening all 
the ties which till then Religion had on the minds of the 
Populace : and which till then, Statesmen had ever 
thought were the best security the Magistrate had for 
24 their 


their obedience. For though a rule of right may direct 
the Philosopher to a principle of action ; and the point 
of honour may keep up the thing called Manners amongst 
Gentlemen; yet nothing but Religion can ever fix a sober 
standard of behaviour amongst the common People. 

But those bad effects not immediately appearing, our 
Politicians were so little apprehensive that the matter 
had already gone too far, that they thought of nothing 
but how to improve some COLLATERAL advantages 
they had procured by the bargain; which, amongst 
other uses, they saw likewise, would be sure to keep 
things in the condition to which they were reduced. 
For now Religion having lost its hold oa the People; 
the Ministers of Religion were of no further consequence 
to the State ; nor were Statesmen any longer under the 
hard necessity of seeking out the most eminent, for the 
honours of their Profession : And without necessity, 
how few would submit to such a drudgery.! For States 
men of a certain pitch are naturally apprehensive of a 
little sense, and not easily brought, whether from expe 
rience or conviction, to form ideas of a great deal of 
gratitude, in those they have to deal with. All went 
now according to their wishes. They could now employ 
Church-honours more directly to the use of Government, 
that is, of their own, by conferring them on such sub 
jects as most gratified their taste or humour, or served 
best to strengthen their connexions with the Great. 
This would of course give the finishing stroke to their 
System. For though stripping the Church of all power 
and authority, and exposing it naked and defenceless to 
its enemies, had abated men s reverence for it ; and the 
detecting Revelation of imposture, serving only for a 
State-engine, had destroyed all love for Religion ; yet 
which would make the People despise the whole Ordi 

Nor did the hopes of a better generation give much 
relief to good men s present fears or feelings* The 
People had been reasoned out of their Religion, by 
such Logic as it was : and if ever they were to be brought 
back to a sober sense of their condition, it was evident 
they must be reasoned into it again. Little thought and 

3 less 


less learning were sufficient to persuade men of what 
their vices inclined them to believe ; but it must be no 
common share of both, which, in opposition to those 
vices, shall be able to bring them to themselves. And 
where is that to be expected, or likely to be found? 
In the course of forty or fifty years (for I am not speak 
ing of present transactions) a new Generation or two are 
sprung up : And those, whom their Profession has de 
dicated to this service, Experience has taught, that the 
talents requisite for pushing their fortune lie very remote 
from such as enable men to figure in a rational defence 
6f Religion. And it is very natural to think that, in 
general, they will be chiefly disposed to cultivate those 
qualities on which they see their Patrons lay the greatest 

I have, my Lord, been the longer and the plainer in 
deducing the causes of a recent evil, for the sake of 
doing justice to the ENGLISH CLERGY; who in this in 
stance, as in many others, have been forced to bear 
the blame of their Betters. How common is it to hear 
the it-religion of the times ascribed to the vices or the 
indiscretions of Churchmen ! Yet how provoking is 
such an insult ! when every child knows that this accusa 
tion is only an Echo from the lewd clamours of those 
very Scribblers whose flagitious writings have been the 
principal cause of these disorders. 

In this disastrous state of things, it was my evil stars 
which inclined me to write. I began, as these Poli 
ticians had done, with the CHURCH. My purpose, I am 
not ashamed to own, was to repel the cruel inroads 
made upon its Rights and Privileges; but, I thank God, 
on honester principles than those which have been em 
ployed to prop up, with Gothic buttresses, a Jacobite 
or High-Church Hierarchy. The success was what I 
might expect. I was read; and by a few indifferent 
and intelligent Judges, perhaps, approved. But as I 
made the CHURCH neither a Slave nor a Tyrant (and 
under one or other of these ideas of it, almost all men 
had now taken party) The Alliance between Church and 
State, though formed upon a Model actually existing 
before our eyes, was considered as an Utopian refine 
ment. It is true, that so far as rny own private satis 


faction went, I had no great reason to complain. I had 
the honour to be told by the heads of one Party, that 
they allowed my principles* ; and by the heads of the 
other, that they espoused my conclusion^ ; which how 
ever amounted only to this, that the One was for LI 
BERTY, however they would chuse to employ it; and 
the Other for POWER, however they could come at it. 

I had another important view in writing this book. 
Though nobody had been so shameless to deny the use. 
of Religion to civil Government , yet certain friends of 
Liberty, under the terror of the mischiefs done to So 
ciety by Fanaticism, or Religion run mad, had, by a 
strange preposterous policy, encouraged a clamour 
against ESTABLISHMENTS :"the only mode of Religion 
which can prevent what they pretended to fear ; that is, 
its degenerating into Fanaticism. It is true, had these 
Clamourers not found more enemies to the Establish 
ment than they had made, (enemies on solider grounds, 
to wit, the sense of their exclusion from the emoluments 
of a national Church) an Establishment had hardly 
given umbrage to the appointed Protectors of it. But 
these had the Sectaries to caress : and a private and 
pressing interest will often get the better of the most in 
dispensable maxims of good policy. 

It was for this reason, my Lord, that so much of th$ 
book is employed in the defence of a national or an 
established Religion ; since, under such a Form, FANA 
TICISM can never greatly spread: and that little there 
will always be of this critical eruption of our diseased 
Nature, may have the same good effect on the Esta 
blished Religion which weak Factions are observed to 


have on the administration of Government ; it may keep 
men more decent, alert, and attentive to the duties of 
their Charge. 

Where then was the wonder, that a subject so ma 
naged, and at such a juncture, should be violently op 
posed, or, to speak more truly, be grossly misrepre 
sented? Those in the new system accused me of 
making the State a slave to the Church ; those in the 
old, of making the Church a slave to the State : and one 
passionate Declaimer, as I remember, who cared equally 
* Bishop Ho. -\ Bishop Sh. 

B4 for 


for Church and State, was pleased to say, that, the bet 
ter to b inter mankind, I had done both *. 

Having thus, in the foolish confidence of Youth, cast 
in my Goosequill, to stern a torrent that in a little time 
was to bear down all before it ; I proceeded, with the 
same good faith, in another romantic effort, The sup 
port of RELIGION itself. 

You, my Lord, who feel so humanely for the In 
jured, on whomsoever POPULAR INJUSTICE may chance 
to fall, have hardly forgotten the strange reception with 
which this my fair endeavour was entertained ; and 
principally by Those whose interests I was defending. 
It awaked a thousand black passions and idiot preju 
dices. The Zealots inflamed the Bigots. 

Twos the Times plague, 
When madmen led the blind, 

For, the noble prosecution of real Impiety was now 
over; or, at least, no longer serious. What remained, 
to belie a zeal for Religion, was a ridiculous Tartuffisrn; 
ridiculous, because without the power to persecute : 
otherwise, sufficiently serious, as it was encouraged by 
men, at that time, in eminence of place f. For false 
Zeal and unbelieving Politics always concur, and often 
find their account in suppressing NOVELTIES. 

But things, unnaturally kept up in a state of violence, 
in a little time subside: And though the first Writers, 
let loose against me, came on as if they would devour ; 
yet the design of those who, at spring and fall, have 
ever since annually succeeded them, has been, I think, 
only to eat. The imputation that yet sticks to my no 
tions, amongst many well meaning men, is, that they 
are PARADOXICAL. And though this be now made the 
characteristic of my Writings, yet, whether from the 
amusement which Paradoxes afford, or trom whatever 
other cause of malice or curiosity, the Public seem still 
sufficiently eager to see what, in suite of the Argument, 
and perhaps in spite to it, they are pleased to call my 
CONCLUSION. And as in your Lordship s progress 
through your high Stations (for I will not take my com 
parison lower while my subject is public favour) men no 

* Lord B. f Archbishop P. 



sooner found you in one than they saw you necessary for 
a higher ; so every preceding Volume seemed to excite a 
stronger appetite for the following ; till, as I am told., it 
came to a kind of impatience for the last: which must 
have been strangely obstinate if in all this time it has 
not subsided. And yet it is very possible it may not : 
For, the good-natured pleasure of seeing an Author fill 
up the measure of his Paradoxes, is worth waiting for. 
Of all men, I would not appear vain before your Lord 
ship ; since, of all men, You best know how ill it 
would become my pride. Nor am I indeed in much 
danger to have my head turned by this flattering circum 
stance, while I remember that RABELAIS tells us, and 
I dare say he tells us truth, that the Public of his times 
were full as impatient for the conclusion ot the unfinished 
story of the giant Gargantua and his son Pantagruel. 

I have now, both leisure and inclination to gratify this 
Public fancy, alter having put my last hand to these two 
Volumes : A work of reasoning ; and though iairly pur 
sued, and, as I thought, brought home to its CONCLU 
SION, yet interspersed with variety of Philologic disser 
tations : For I had to do with a sort of Readers not 
less delicate than the fastidious Frenchman, who tells us 
in so many words, that La R A ISDN a tort des quelle 
ENNUYE. As my purpose therefore was to bring Rea 
son into good Company, I saw it proper now and then, 
to make her wait without, lest by her constant presence 
she should happen to be thought tiresome. Yet still I 
was careful not to betray her rights : and the Disserta 
tions brought in to relieve the oppressed attention of the 
Reader, was not more for his sake than lor hers. If I 
was large in rny discourse concerning the nature and 
end of the Grecian MYSTERIES, it was .to shew the 
sense the antient Lawgivers had of the use of Religion 
to Society : and if I expatiated on the origin and use of 
the Egyptian HIEROGLYPHICS, it was to vindicate the 
logical propriety of the Prophetic language and senti 
ment. For I should have been ashamed to waste so 
much time in classical amusements, and at last to join 
them to your Lordship s Name, had they not had an in 
timate relation to the things most connected with Man 
and his interests, 

I have 

10 DEDICATION (1765) TO 

I have detained your Lordship with a tedious Story ; 
and still I must beg your patience a little longer. We 

are not yet got to the end of a bad prospect. While 

I, and others of my Order, have been thus vainly con 
tending pro Arts with the unequal arms of Reason ; we 
had the further displeasure to find, that our Rulers (who, 
as 1 observed above, had needlessly suffered those ties 
of Religion to be unloosed, by which, till of late, the 
passions of the People had been restrained) were 
struggling, almost as unsuccessfully, pro Focls with a 
corrupt and debauched Community, 

General History, in its Records of the rise and decay 
of States, hath delivered down to us, amongst the more 
important of its lessons, a faithful detail of every symp 
tom, which is wont to forerun and to prognosticate their 
approaching ruin. It might be justly deemed the extra- 
v tgance of folly to believe, that those very Signs, which 
have constantly preceded the fall of other States, should 
signify nothing fatal or alarming to our own. On the 
other hand, I would not totally condemn, in such a 
dearth of Religious provision, even that species of piety, 
which arises from a national pride, and flatters us with 
being the peculiar attention of Heaven ; who will avert 
those evils from his favoured People, which the natural 
course of things would otherwise make inevitable : For, 
indeed, we have seen (and, what is as strange as the 
blessing itself, the little attention which is paid to it) 
something very like such an extraordinary protection al 
ready exerted ; which resists, and, till now, hath ar 
rested, the torrent just ready to overwhelm us. The 
circumstance, I mean, is this : That while every other 
part of the Community seems to lie in face Romuli* the 
administration of Public Justice in England, runs as 
pure as where nearest to its coelestial Source; purer 
than Plato dared venture to conceive it, even in his 
feigned Republic. 

Now, whether we are not to call this, the interposing 
hand of Providence; for sure I arn, all History doth 
not afford another instance of so much purity and inte 
grity in one part, coexisting with so much decay and so 
many infirmities in the rest: Or whether, profounder 
Politicians may not be able to discover some hidden 



force, some peculiar virtue in the essential parts, or in 
the well-adapted frame, of our excellent Constitution : 
In either case, this singular and shining Phenomenon, 
hath afforded a cheerful consolation to thinking men, 
amidst all this dark aspect from our disorders and dis 

But the evil Genius of England would not suffer us 
to enjoy it long; for, as if envious of this last support of 
Government he hath now instigated his blackest Agents 
to the very extent of their malignity; who, after the 
most villanous insults on all other Orders and Ranks in 
Society, have at length proceeded to calumniate even 
the King s Supreme Court of Justice, under its ablest 
and most unblemished Administration. 

After this, who will not be tempted to despair of his 
Country, and say, with the good old man in the Scene, 

- - - " Ipsa si cupiat SALUS 
" Servare, prorsus non potest, hanc FAMILIAM." 

ATHENS, indeed, fell by degenerate manners like our 
own : but she fell the later, and with the less dishonour, 
for having always kept inviolable that reverence which 
she, and indeed all Greece, had been long accustomed 
to pay to her august Court of AREOPAGUS. Of this 
modest reserve, amidst a general disorder, we have a 
striking instance in the conduct of one of the principal 
Instruments of her ruin. The witty ARISTOPHANES 
began, as all such Instruments do (whether with wit or 
without) by deriding Virtue and Religion ; and this, in 
the brightest exemplar of both, the godlike SOCRATES. 
The Libeller went on to attack all conditions of Men. 
He calumniated the Magistrates ; he turned the Public 
Assemblies into ridicule; and, with the most beastly 
and blasphemous abuse, outraged their Priests, their 
Altars, nay, the very established Gods themselves. 
But here he stopped ; and, unawed by all besides, w he- 
ther of divine or human, he did not dare to cast so 
much as one licentious trait against that venerable 
Judicature. A circumstance, which the Readers of his 
witty ribaldry, cannot but observe with surprise and 
admiration ; not at the Poet s modesty, for he had 
none, but at the- remaining virtue of a debauched and 


12 DEDICATION, &c. (1765.) 

ruined People ; who yet would not bear to see that clear 
Fountain of Justice defiled by the odious Spawn of Buf 
foons and Libellers. 

Nor was this the only consolation which ATHENS had 
in its calamities. Its pride was flattered in falling by 
apostate Wits of the first Order : while the Agents of 
public mischief amongst us, with the hoarse notes and 
blunt pens of Ballad-makers, not only accelerate our 
ruin, but accumulate our disgraces : Wretches the most 
contemptible for their parts, the most infernal for their 

To conclude. Great Men, my Lord, are sent for the 
Times ; the Times are fitted for the rest, of common 
make. ERASMUS and the present CHIEF JUSTICE OF 
ENGLAND (whatever he may think) were sent by Pro 
vidence, for the sake of humanity, to adorn two periods, 
when RELIGION at one time, and SOCIETY at another, 
most needed their support; I do not say, of their great 
talents, but of that HEROIC MODERATION so necessary 
to allay the violence of public disorders; for to be MO 
DERATE amidst party-extremes, requires no common 
degree of patriotic courage. 

Such characters rarely fail to perform much of the 
task for which they were sent; but never without find 
ing their labour ill repaid, even by those in whose ser 
vice it was employed. That glory of the Priesthood 
left the World, he had so nobly benefited, with this ten 
der complaint, " Hoc tempore nihil scribi aut AGI 
" potest quod not pateat CALUMNI;E; nee raro fit, ut 
" dum agis CIRCUMSPECTISSIME utramque partem of- 
" fendas, quum in utraque sint qui PARITER IN SAN i- 
" ANT." A complaint, fated, alas! to be the motto of 
every Man who greatly serves his Country. 

I have the honour to be, 

Your Lordship s most obliged, 

most obedient and faithful Servant, 

February 2, 1765. W. GLOUCESTER. 








THE purpose of this Work being to prove the DIVINE 
LEGATION OF MOSES, it will, I hope, have so much 
merit with you, as to engage your serious attention to 
the following Address ; which, from the divinity of 
Moses s Law, as in this work demonstrated, attempts 
to shew you, how, by necessary consequence, it follows, 
that the Religion of JESUS is also divine. 

But, while I am laying my conclusions before you, 
let me beseech you not to suffer yourselves to be pre 
judiced against the evidence, by such kind of fallacies 
as these ; Both Jews and Christians confess, that the 
religion of Moses came from GOD : but one only, of 
these two Sects, believe the divinity of that of JESUS : 
the safest way, therefore, is to adhere to what both side* 
own to be true. An argument, which however like, 
hath not in all its parts, even so much force as what 
the idolatrous Romanists are wont to urge against the 
Reformed That as both parties hold salvation may be 
had in the church of Rome* and only one party holds it 

14 DEDICATION (1740) TO 

may be had in the churches of the Reformed, it is safest 
to adhere to Popery : which I dare say you laugh at for 
its impertinence, how much soever you may have de 
luded others by the same kind of sophistry *. For if 
the Roman Catholics, or you, will not take our word 
for Christianity or Reformation, w^y do you build any 
thing upon it, in favour of Popery or Judaism ? Both 
of you will say, perhaps, " because we are prejudiced 
in the former conclusion ; but that the mere force of 
evidence extorts the latter from us even against our 
selves/* This is easily said ; and may, perhaps, be 
easily believed, by those who, taking their Religion from 
their ancestors, are apt to measure Truth only by its 
antiquity. But genuine Christianity offering itself only 
i to the private judgments of men, every sincere enquirer 
\ believes as he finds cause, So that if either you or 
they would give yourselves the trouble to examine our 
motives, it would appear, that the very same reasons 
which force us to conclude that Christianity in ge 
neral, and the Reformed religion in particular, are true, 
force us at the same time to conclude that the Jewish 
was from God ; and that salvation may be obtained, 
though with much difficulty, in the church of Rome. 
Either, therefore, the whole of our conclusion is preju 
dice, or no part of it is so. 

As I would not have you harden your habitual ob 
stinacy in favour of your own Religion, by bad argu 
ments ; so neither will I use any such to draw you over 
to ours. 

I shall not therefore attempt that way to bring you 
to the truth, which some amongst us, little acquainted, 
as should seem, either with your Dispensation, or the 
Christian, imagine they have discovered : Who, taking 
it for granted that the Mosaic Law can be defended only 
by the Gospel of Jesus, pretend you must first acknow 
ledge our Religion, before you can support your own: 
and so. which" is very hard, will not allow you to have 

* This, the miserable Urid Acosta tells us, was one of the 
principal arguments that induced him to embrace Judaism. 
Prajterea veteri icederi fidem dabant tarn Judaei quam Christian! ; 
JQOVO autem feeder! soli Christiani. Exemplar humanae vitee, p. 346. 
in fin. Arnica Collat. Phil, a Limborch. 



any reasonable assurance of the truth of your Religion 
till you have forsaken it*. But I would not urge you 
with such kind of reasoning, if it were only for this, that 
I suspect you may not be such utter strangers to the New 
Testament as not to know, that it lays the foundation 
of Christianity in Judaism. Besides, right reason, as 
well as St. Paul (which with us, at present, are still the 
same thing) would teach you to reply to such Con- 
vertists : Boast not against the branches of the native 
olive-tree : but if thou boast, thon bearcst not the root, 
but the root thee ^. 

Much less would I employ, in this Address, the 
quainter project of our common Adversary, the FREE 
THINKER. For you are to know, that as those I spoke 
of before, make Christianity too recent, so these make 
it as much too old ; even as old as the Creation. Those 
fall short of the support of Judaism ; These overleap 
it ; and assure us, that the only way to bring you to 
believe in JESUS, is to prove Moses an impostor. So 
says a late writer : who, by the singular happiness of a 
good choice, having learnt his morality of our Tyndal, 
and his philosophy of your Spinoza* calls himself, by the 
courtesy of England, a MORAL PHILOSOPHER J. 

The road I have taken is indeed very different : and 
the principles I go upon for your conversion, will equally 
serve, to their confutation. For I have shewn that the 
Law of Moses was from GOD ; and, at the same time, 
that it is only PREPARATORY to the more perfect Reli 
gion of JESUS. 

The limits of this Address will not allow me to point 
out to you any other arguments than what arise imme 
diately from those important circumstances of the Law, 
discoursed of in this Work. Much less shall I have 
room to urge you with a repetition of those reasonings, 

* " Dr. Rogers has declared, as I remember in one of his ser 
mons, that he could not believe the truth of MOSES S pretensions^ 
were it not for the confirmation given to them by the Gospel. 
This I take to be a dangerous assertion, that saps the very foun 
dation of Christianity ; and supersedes at onceuthe whole purpose 
of your intended work, by denying any original intrinsic character 
of divinity to the institution of MOSES." Dr. Middleton s Letter 
to Mr. W. Nov. 30, 1736. vol. v. of his Works. 

f Rom. xi, 18. J MOHGAH. 


16 DEDICATION (1740) TO 

which Christian writers have already used with so supe 
rior a force against you. 

Let us see then what it is that keeps you still enslaved 
to a galling Discipline, so long after the free offers of 
Redemption. The two principal reasons, I suppose, 
are these : 

I. First a presumption that the Religion of Moses 
is perfect ; so full and complete in all its members as to 
be abundantly capable of supplying the spiritual wants 
of men, by preparing and fitting human nature for the 
enjoyment of the supreme Good, and by proposing and 
procuring the possession of that Good. Hence vou 
conclude, and, were your presumption well-grounded, 
not unreasonably, that the Law was given as a perpetual 
ordinance, to be observed throughout all your genera 
tions for ever. 

II. The second is a persuasion that the Prophecies 
(a necessary credential of the Messiah) which, we sav, 
relate to JESUS, relate not to him in a primary sense; 
and that a secondary sense is a fanatic vision raised by 
deluded Christians to uphold a groundless claim. 

For thus one of our common enemies, who hath in- 
forced your arguments against us, tells the world, you 
are accustomed to speak. All the books written by 
Jews against the Christian Religion (says he) some of 
which are printed, and others go about Europe in manu 
script, chiefly attack the New Testament for the alle 
gorical interpretations of the Old Testament therein, 
and with the greatest insolence and contempt imaginable 
on that account ; and oppose to them a single and literal 
interpretation as the true sense of the Old Testament. 
And accordingly the allegorical interpretations given by 
Christian expositors of the Prophecies are now the 
grand obstacle and stumbling-block in the way of the 
Conversion of the Jews to Christianity*^ 

These, it seems, are the two great impediments to 
your conversion. Give me leave then to shew you how 
the reasoning of this book removes them. 

I. As to the perfection of your Religion, it is here 
proved, that, though it indeed had that specific per- 

* Grounds and Reasons of the Christian Religion, pp. 82, 83. 



fection, which no Religion coming from GOD can want *, 
that is, a full capacity of attaining its_end, which was 
the separation of the race of Abraham from an idola 
trous world ; yet that it was perfect only in this restrained 
and relative sense. As to absolute independent perfec 
tion, the Law had it not. 

1. That it had no perfection with regard to the im 
provement of human nature for the enjoyment of the 
supreme Good, I have shewn from the genius of your 
whole religious Worship; and its general direction 
against the various idolatries of those early ages. And 
in this I have a Doctor of your own, the famous MAI- 
MOXIDES, for my warrant: who indeed little thought, 
while he was proving this truth in so invincible a man 
ner, that_he was preparing the more reasonable part. of 
his Brethren for the reception of the Gospel. It is true, 
some of your later writers have seen better into this con 
sequence: and Orobio, in his dispute with Limborch, 
hath part of a chapter f to disprove, or, rather, to 
deny the fact. But if your religious Worship consist 
only of a multifarious burdensome Ritual, relative to 
the Superstitions of those early times, it must needs be 
altogether unable to perfect human nature in such a 
manner, as you do and must allow to be God s design, 
in a revealed Religion, universal and perpetual. 

2. Again, as to the second branch of this perfection, 
the proposing and procuring the possession of the su 
preme Good : I have shewn that the Law of Moses re 
vealed xo FUTURE STATE of rewards and punishments, 
but studiously declined the mention of any doctrine pre 
paratory to it : that no Mosaical Tradition supplied this 
omission : and that it did not become a national doctrine 
amongst you till the later times of your republic ; when 
it arose from various and discordant sources ; and wa$ 
brought in on foreign occasions. But it is certain, that 
that Religion must fall very short of absolute perfection, 
which wants a doctrine so essential to Religion in 

* See this proved against Lord Bolingbroke, Book V. -2. 

f The title of tLe chapter is : Quod ntuaha 11011 erant praecise ut 
Israel ab alns populis s^pararetur ; neque lex neque populus piopter 
Mesbiam, sed hie propter populum, ut ei inserviret, p. 86. Kd. 

VOL. IV. C gene- 


general*. And this, you yourselves at length seem to 
have heen aware of: for though, during the existence of 
your Republic, the dcniers of a future state, such as 
the Sadducees, were not cut off from the rights of the 
Synagogue; yet since that time, it hath been generally 
held by your Doctors for a prime cause of excommuni 
cation: One of them says, that it is the veryfunda- 

* Here Dr. Stebbing charges me with contradiction ; [Exam, p.p.] 
first in asserting, that a future state made no part of the Religion of 
Moses ; and then that a future state was essential to Religion in ge 
neral. Now this, which he is pleased to call a contradiction, I 
brought as an argument for the divinity of the Law, and supposed it 
to be conclusive by its consistency. Where I speak of Religion in 
general, I explain my meaning to be, a Religion universal and per 
petual, such as Natural Religion and the Christian ; and from~thence 
I argue, that if a future state be essential to a Religion universal and 
perpetual; and a future state be not found in the Religion of Moses, 
that then the Religion of Moses was not universal and perpetual, but 
local and temporary; the point I was inforcing, in order to bring 
over the Jews to the Gospel of Jesus. If the Doctor supposes, that 
what is essential in one species of Religion must be essential in the 
other, this is supposing them not ti be of different species, but on* 
and the same; that is, it supposes, that they are and that they are 
not of the same species. But, continues our Doctor, " If you should 
" say, that your argument is levelled against the Jews, considered 
"only in their present state, in which they are not under an equal 
r< Providence, this answer will not serve you. For as in their present 
"state they are not under any extraordinary Providence, so neither 
" do they want the doctrine of a future state, of which you tell us 
"they have been in possession long ago." p. 11. What pains does 
this learned Doctor take to make my application to the Jews, in fa 
vour of Christianity, ineffectual ! Your Religion (say I to them) 
teaches no future state. You are at present under the common un 
equal Providence of Heaven. How disconsolate is your condition ! 
Not so bad neither, replies their Advocate, Doctor Stebbing. They 
NOW have a future state. How came they by it ? By the Law ? 
No matter, says he, they have it, and that is enough to destroy all 
the force of your persuasion to embrace the Gospel. Not altogether 
enough, good Doctor: for if they have not the future state by the 
Law, (and that truth I take for granted in this address to them, at 
I think I reasonably might, after I had proved it at large) their fu 
ture state, even by their own confession, is a Phantom: and to gain 
the Substance, there is no way left but to embrace the Gospel. 
They themselves own this truth : for in the words quoted below, they 
confess that to believe a future state, and yet that it was not revealed 
by the LAW, is the same thing as not to believe it at all. It is a sad 
thing when Polemics or blacker passions have gotten so entire pos 
session of a man s heart, that he cares not what harm he does to a 
common cause, or even to common sense, so he can but ANSWER the 
man or the opinion he happens to dislike. 



mental of fundamentals*-, Another, that to deny 

this is the same thing as to deny GOD himself, and the 
Divinity of his Law-\- : and a third, that even to believe 
it, and yet not believe that it was revealed by the Law, 
is the same thing as not to believe it at #//. 

But you will do well, when you have considered the 
force of those reasonings by which I prove a future state 
not to be revealed by the LAW of Moses, to go on 
with me, (for the free thoughts of many amongst you, 
concerning Revelation in general, give scandal to the 
professors of more than one Religion) while I prove, 
from thence, by necessary consequence, that this LAW 
came from GOD: And, in conclusion, join with me in 
adoring the infinite Wisdom of the GOD of your Fa 
thers, here so wonderfully displayed, in making one and 
the same circumstance a standing evidence of the di 
vinity of the Mosaic Religion, and, at the same time, 
an irrefragable proof that it was preparatory only to the 
Christian ; The logical result of all our reasoning being 
the confirmation of this sacred truth, long since enounced 
by a great Adept in your Law, That THE LAW MADE 


Permit me to observe farther, that this rabbinical 
notion of a future state of rewards and punishments in 

* Scripsit Rab. (Maimon.) p. m. Articulus fundamentals decimus 
tertius agit de resurrectione, cnjus rationem (quomodo se habeat) & 
fundamenta jam exposuimus. Quod si homo crediderit fandamenta 
ilia omnia, seque ilia credere declaraverit, ingreditur Kcclesiam Is 
raelis, jubemur diligere ilium, & misericordiam ill, exhihere, & 
conversari cum illo juxta omnia, qua; pracepic Deus benediclus cui- 
libet firga proximum facienda. Si quis autem vilipenderit hoc fun- 
damentum excelleutium fimdamentorum, ecce exit ille ex Kcclesia, 
quippe qui abnegat articulum fidei, & vocatur imping ac Epicureus,, 
arnputatque plantas, quern odio habere & perdV-e jubrmur. Ex 
betb Elohim. Vid Dassovium de Resurrectione, Cd. 1693. 

f Hc fides [de Resurrectione mortuorum] r.umeretur inter 

articulos Lcgis & fundamenta ejus, quam qui negat, perinde fecit 
acsi negaret esse Peum, legem esse a ccclo, & quod in aliis istis ar- 
ticulis tractatur. R. Salomo ap. Dtissovmm de Resurrect. 

I Oportet te scire articulum fidei de resurrecticne mortuorum ex 
iege esse. Quod si quis fide firma crediderit resurrectionem mortu 
orum, non autem crediderit esse illam ex Iege, ecce ille reputatur 
acsi hrec omnia negaret. R. Jehud. Zabara apud DHSSOV. 

Ileb. vii. 19. 

c 2 the 

20 DEDICATION (1740) TO 

the Mosaic Dispensation, which still encourages the 
remnant of your Nation to persist in rejecting the Gos 
pel of Jesus, was the very prejudice which, in the first t 
ages of Christianity, so superstitiously attached the 
Converts from Judaism, to the whole observance of the 

As a Corollary to all this, I have shewn, that the 
punishment of Children for the crimes of their Parents^ 
which hath given a handle to the enemies of your Law 
to blaspheme, can be only well explained and vindicated 
on the Principle of no future state in the Religion of 
Moses: And farther, that, on this Principle, all the 
inextricable embarras of your Rabbins, in their endea 
vours to reconcile the different accounts of Moses and 
the Prophets concerning that method of punishment, is 
intirely removed, and a perfect harmony and concord 
is seen to reign amongst them. But at the same time 
that the Principle does this, take notice, it di-ables you 
from accounting for the length of your present disper 
sion. For the only reason your best defender, Orobio, 
had to assign for it was, that you now suffer not for 
your men sins, but for the sins of your Forefathers, 
But the Principle which reconciles Moses arid the Pro 
phets, shews that this mode of punishment hath long 
since ceased. 

II. In answer to the second part, your prejudices 
against the credentials of Jjisus s Messiahship, for the 
want of rational evidence in a secondary sense of Pro 
phecy; I have proved those prejudices to be altogether 
vain and groundless : i . By tracing up the nature ot hu 
man converse in speech and writing, from its early 
original; and from thence evincing, that a secondary 
sense of Prophecies is proper, rational, and comforrn- 
able to the justest rules of grammar and logic. 2. By 
shewing that this method of information was so exactly 
suited to the occasion, that if ever you were to have a 
Messiah to complete your Law, the body of the Pro 
phecies, relating to him, must needs be given in the 
very manner which those in dispute are actually given : 
For that, had these Prophecies recorded the nature of 
the Messiah s Kingdom in plain and direct terms, it 
would have defeated the very end and purpose of the 
2 Law. 


Law. And this, on reflection, you will find a sufficient 
answer to those FOUR QUERIES into which your ablest 
Defender* has collected the whole strength of your 

As a Corollary, likewise, to this part, I shew, in 
order to reconcile you still farther to the Messiahship of 
JESUS, that the history of GOD S Dispensations to your 
Fathers, even before his giving the Law, can never be 
rightly understood, or fully cleared from the objections 
ofJJnbelievers, but on the supposition of the redemp 
tion of mankind by the death and sufferings of JESUS, 
And of this I have given a convincing proof in the 
famous history of the Command to Abraham to offer up 
his Son. Which I prove to be no other than a RE\ r E- 
LATiotf of that Redemption, delivered in action instead 
of words. This strongly corroborates the Mission of 
JESUS, and should incline you seriously to consider its 
force. Here God reveals to your father Abraham the 
Redemption of Mankind by the death and passion of 
his Son. Why then, I ask you, should you not con 
clude with our learned Apostle, that to Abraham and 
his seed the Promises being made, the Covenant that 
was confirmed before of GOD in CHRIST, the LAW 
which was four hundred and thirty years after cannot 
disannul, that it should make the Promise of none 

Having thus shewn your Religion to be partial, im 
perfect, and preparatory ; and consequently shewn the 

* Q ROB TO. i- Ut assigrietur locus aliquis in quo Deus mandaverit, 
aut dixerit expresse, quod fide? in Messiam est absolute necessaria 
ad salutem generis humam; adeo ut qui non crediderit damnau- 
dus esset. 

2. Ut assignetur locus, in quo Deus dixerit, quod unicum medium 
ad salutem Israelis, et restitutionis in divinam gratiarn : est fide- ia 
Messiam jam advenium. 

3. Ut assignetur locus, in quo Deus dixerit, quod Israel propter 
infidelitatem in Messiam erat deperdendus, et abjiciendus in nationi- 
bus, ut non sit amplius Populus Dei, sed in as termini damnaridus 
donee IVlessium aclventum non crediderit. 

4. Tandem assignetur locus, in quo dixit Deus, oniDia Le alia 
pra ter moralia, fuisse umb:aui, seu figuram luiurortim in advetitu 
Messia?, et quod fere omnia qua? & in divma Lege et in .Prop i-r^s 
fiiere revelata, MYSTICE et TUGPOLOGICE explicare liceat, quonium- 
vis sensus literalis omnioo despiciatur. Arnica collatio Limb. ^ ,, 2. 

f GaL iii. 16, 17. 

c 3 necessity 

22 DEDICATION (1740) TO 

necessity of its completion by the teaching of a Messiah ; 
to whose character in the person of JESUS, I have en 
deavoured to reconcile you, by removing your only 
plausible objection, the mistaken nature of the Prophe 
cies concerning him ; As a Corollary to the whole, I 
have proved, in order to remove your prejudices for a 
worldly Prince, and ii restoration to a carnal Dominion 
in Judea, that your race was not at first chosen by GOD, 
and settled in the land of Canaan, as his FAVOURITES, 
for whom lie had a greater fondness than for other of 
the sons of Adam ; but only to serve the general ends of 
Providence, in its Dispensations to the whole Species ; 
which required the temporary separation of one People 
from the rest of Mankind, to preserve, amidst an ido 
latrous world, the great doctrine of the UNITY, as the 
foundation of that universal Religion to be dispensed 
by JE&US, when the fulness of time should come. Which 
time being now come, and the end obtained, you cannot 
but confess there is no further use or purpose of a 
national separation. 

Let me add the following observation, which ought 
to have some weight with you. Whoever reads your 
history, and believes you, on your own word, to be 
still tied to the Religion of MOSES, and to have nothing 
to expect from that of JESUS, must needs regard you 
as a People long since abandoned of GOD. And those 
who neither read nor believe, will pretend at least to 
think you forsaken of all REASON. Our Scriptures alone 
give us better hopes of your condition : and excited by 
the Charity they inspire, I am moved to hazard this ad~- 
dress unto you. For a time, as they assure us, will 
come, when this veil shall be taken from your hearts. 
And who knows how near at hand the day of visitation 
may be? At least, who would not be zealous of con 
tributing, though in the lowest degree, to so glorious a 
work? For if the Jail of you be the riches of the World, 
and the diminishing of you the riches of the Gentiles, 
how much more yourjulness * ! says the Apostle Paul 
Who at the same time assures us, that blindness in part 
is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles 
be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved f. 
* Rom. xi. 12. f Ver, 25, 26. 

I know 


I know you will be ready to say, " that much of this 
sort of Charity hath been preached to your People, even 
amidst the horrors of the Inquisition ; and that it has 
always made a suitable impression : that indeed, in a 
land of liberty like Britain, you should have thought 
much more favourably of our good-will, had not a late 
transaction, in which your natural rights came in 
question, amply convinced you that Christian Chanty is 
every where the same." 

Sufferers, even imaginary ones, may be excused a little 
hard language ; especially when they only repeat the cla 
mours of those amongst ourselves ; v\ho, on the defeat of 
your Naturalization project, affected to feel most sen 
sibly for the interests of Liberty and Commerce. And 
yet I think it no difficulty to convince unprejudiced men, 
that the Sanctity of Government was, in the first in 
stance, surprised ; and that the Legislature did justly 
as well as politicly in acting conformably to their second 

A People like this of Great Britain, the genius of 
whose Religion and Government equally concur to make 
thjem tender and jealous of the rights of mankind, were 
naturally led by their first motions to think they might 
extend those privileges to your Nation, which they saw 
plainly were the due even of the followers of Mahomet: ! 
And yet for all this they were mistaken. 

As much a paradox as this may seem, it is easy to 
shew that in this point, You stand distinguished to your 
disadvantage from all the Nations upon earth : there 
being in your case, a peculiar circumstance which must 
eternally exclude your claim to the general right of Na 
turalization, in every free Government in Christendom, 
while men act, not to say with common integrity, but 
even with common decency, according to their pro 

Let us then consider your case as it is understood by 
Christian Communities ; for men must always act, would 
they act honestly, according to their own conceptions 
of the case, not according to the conceptions of other 

Now it is a common principle of Christianity, that 
God, in punishing your Nation for the rejection of their 

c 4 promised 

24 DEDICATION (1740) TO 

promised Messiah, hath sentenced it to the irremissible 
infamy of an unsettled vagabond condition, without 
Country or Civil policy, till the fulness of the Gentiles 
be come in : and then, as we observed before, our St. 
Paul declares, that your Nation, converted to the faith 
in Jesus, shall be received again into favour, and in- 
titled to the privilege of Sons. The sentence denounced 
upon you was not only the loss of your own Community, 
but the being debarred an entrance into any other. For 
you are condemned to be aliens and strangers in every 
land where you abide and sojourn. A punishment 
which can only respect Particulars, and not the Com 
munity ; for one People can be no other than aliens and 
strangers to another People, by the constitution of 
Nature. So that the sentence against you imports, that 
the Particulars of your race shall not be received by Na 
turalization, to the rights and privileges of the free-born 
Subjects of those, civil States amongst which you shall 
happen to be dispersed. And we have seen this sen 
tence wonderfully confirmed by the actual infliction of 
it for the space of seventeen hundred years ; which must 
be confessed to give great credit to the truth of our in 
terpretation of your Prophecies. 

But to understand more clearly what share a Christian 
Community ought to take in PREVENTING ANY INSULT 
on those Prophecies \\hich it holds to be divine, it will 
be necessary to consider what will be the worldly con 
dition of your Nation when reinstated in God s favour ; 
which both you and we are equally instructed to expect. 

If it shall be, as you imagine, a recovery of your Civil- 
policy, a revival of the Temple -service, and a re- pos 
session of the land of Judea ; if this be the mercy pro 
mised to your Nation, then indeed the intermediate 
punishment, between the abolition and the restoration 
of your divine Policy, can be only the temporary want 
of it ; and consequently the facilitating your entry at 
present into the several civil Communities of Christian 
men, might well be thought to have no more tendency 
to insult the general Economy of revealed Religion than 
the naturalizing of Turks and* Tartars. 

But the genius of Christianity and the tenor of those 
prophecies, as interpreted by Christ and his Apostles, 



declare such a restoration to the land of Judea and a 
revival of the Temple-service, to be manifestly absurd, 
and altogether inconsistent with the nature of the whole 
of GOD S religious Dispensation : for by this it appears, 
that the Mosaic Law or Religion (as distinguished from 
its foundation, natural Religion, on which it was 
erected) was only PREPARATORY to, and TYPICAL of 
the Gospel. Consequently, on the establishment of 
Christianity, the Political part of your institution became 
abolished ; and the Ritual part entirely ceased ; just as 
a scaffold is taken down when a building is erected ; or 
as a shadow is cast behind when the substance is brought 
forward into day. Nor were you, after this promised 
conversion, to expect ANY OTHER Civil policy or reli 
gious Ritual peculiar to yourselves, or separate from 
those in use amongst men who profess the name of 
Christ : because the Gospel, of which you are now 
supposed to be professors, disclaims all concern with 
political or civil matters ; and because ALL its professors 
compose but ONE religious Body, under one head, which 
is Christ. 

All therefore that remains for us to conceive of your 
civil condition, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall be 
come in, and Israel be received into grace, is this, That, 
on your conversion, you shall be NATURALIZED and 
incorporated, as your convenience or inclination may 
lead you, into the various civil Communities of the 

This is the only idea we Christians can entertain of 
your future condition : and this may and must regulate 
our conduct whenever an alteration of your present con 
dition comes in question. 

And now to justify the Councils of our Lawgivers 
in their last and perhaps final determination concerning 

If the DECLARED punishment of heaven on your 
Nation, while you continue in unbelief, be DISPERSION 
through the world, WITHOUT A CIVJL POLICY of your 
own as a People, and WITHOUT A COUNTRY, as Par 
ticulars ; and that your restoration to favour, on your 
embracing the Gospel, is the being received into the 
Church of Christ, and (as you can be received therein 


26 DEDICATION (1740) TO 

only as Particulars, and not as a Nation) the being IN 
CORPORATED into the several civil Communities of 
Christians ; then, any ATTEMPT to incorporate you by 
Naturalization into such civil Communities, before the 
time predicted and while you adhere to your old Re 
ligion., as directly opposes the Prophecies, or the de 
clared will of Heaven, as the attempt of Julian to rebuild 
your Temple, after the sentence of its final destruction 
had been put in execution : because it aims to procure 
for you a CIVIL CONDITION while Jews, which it is 
foretold you shall not enjoy till you are become Chris 
tians. Nor is it of any avail to those Politicians who 
were concerned of late in your favour, to pretend that 
Julian s attempt was with malice* and their s with much 
integrity of heart , since this difference makes no change 
in the nature of the action, as it respects God s Dispen 
sations, whatever it may be supposed to do, in the 
quality of it, as it respects the Actors. In either case, 
the declared will of Heaven is opposed. When it is 
done with knowledge of the Prophecy, and with inten 
tion to discredit it, the attempt is wicked and impious : 
when with a forgetfulness of it, with a disregard to Re 
ligion, and a neglect of its interests, the attempt (even 
in this best way of considering it) is indecent and dis 
honourable. Not that He who thus conceives of things, 
hath the least apprehension that PROPHECY can be dis 
honoured, or have its predictions defeated by Civil 
Po^er : But this He thinks, that a Christian State while 
it enacts Laws, though unwarily, whose operation com 
bats the truth of those Predictions, may very easily dis 
honour itself. 

A Nation professing Christianity, though principally 
b isied in the office of protecting liberty and commerce, 
ceases not lo be a nation of Christians, amidst all their 
cares to discharge the duties of good Citizens. They 
have the interests and honour of their Religion to sup 
port as well as the common-rights of Mankind. For 
though Civil society be totally and essentially different 
from the Ecclesiastical, yet as the same Individuals 
compose the members of both; and as there is the 
closest Coalition between both, for their mutual support 
and benefit; such Civil society can never decently or 



honourably act with a total disregard to that co-allied 
Religion, which they profes_ta.hlieve, and of which, 
under another consideration, they compose the body. 

Perhaps You may tell me, it appears from the manner 
in which this late affair was conducted, that none of these 
considerations ever entered into the heads, either of your 
Friends, or, those you will call, your Enemies, when, 
at length, they both agreed to leave you as they found 
you. It may be so. Yet this does not hinder but that 
the result of a Council, may be justified on principles 
which never influenced it. And as for the credit of Re 
velation, that generally becomes more conspicuous when, 
through the ignorance and perverseness of foolish men, 
the predictions of Heaven are supported by Instruments 
which knew not what they were about. Had they acted 
with more knowledge of the case, the enemies of Religion 
would be apt to say, No wonder that the honour of Pro 
phecy is supported, when the Power which could dis 
credit it, held it an impiety to make the attempt. 

Thus you see the Britisli Legislature is justified in its 
last determination concerning you, on all the general 
principles of piety, honesty, and decency. I speak of 
men, and I speak to men, who believe the Religion they 
profess. As for those profligates, whether amongst 
yourselves or us, who are ready to profess any Religion, 
but much better disposed to believe none, to them, this 
reasoning is not addressed. Have a fairer opinion there 
fore of our Charity, and believe us to be sincere when 
we profess ourselves, 

Your, Sfc. 





1 740. 

THE Author of The Divine Legation of Moses, a 
private clergyman, had no sooner given his tirst Volume* 
to the Public, than he was fallen upon in so outrageous 
and brutal a manner as had been scarce pardonable had 
it been The Divine Legation of Mahomet. And what 
was rnoht extraordinary, by those very men whose 
Cause he was supporting, and whose Honours and 
Dignities he had been defending. But what grotesque 
instruments of vengeance had BIGOTRY set on foot! 
If he was to be run down, it had been some kind of 
consolation to him to fall by savages, of whom it was no 
discredit to be devoured. 

Optat aprum, autfulvum descendere monte Leonem. 
However, to do them justice, it must be owned, that, 
what they wanted in teeth, they had in venom; and 
they knew, as all Brutes do, where their strength lay. 
For reasons best known to BIGOTRY, he was, in spite 
of all his professions, to be pushed over to the Enemy, 
by every kind of provocation. To support this pious 
purpose, passages were distorted, propositions invented f, 
conversation betrayed, and forged letters written^. 

* Books I. II. III. 

f See the Author s Letter to Smallbrooke, Bishop of Lichfield and 
Coventry, in which he accuses the Bishop of this crime; To which 
accusation, the Public never yet saw either defence or excuse. 

J By one Ronidine and one Julius Bate in conjunction. 



The attack was opened by one who bore the respec 
table name of a Country Clergyman, but was in reality 
a Town- Writer oi a Weekly Newspaper* ; and with 
such excess of insolence and malice, as the Public had 
never yet seen on any occasion whatsoever. 

Amidst all this unprovoked clamour, the Author had 
his reasons lor sparing these wretched tools of impotence 
and envy. His friends thought it beneath him to com 
mit himself with such writers; and he himself supposed 
it no good policy to irritate a crew of Zealots, who had, 
at their first opening, called loudly upon the secular 
arm. Our Author indeed could talk big to the FREE 
THINKERS; for alas, poor men! he knew their wea 
pons : All their arms were arguments, and those none 
of the sharpest ; and Wit, and that none of the bright 
est. But he had here to do with men in Authority; 
appointed, if you will believe them, Inspectors -General 
over clerical Faith. And they went forth in all the 
pomp and terror of Inquisitors ; with Suspicion before, 
Condemnation behind, and their two assessors, Ignorance 
and Insolence, on each side. We must suspect his 
faith (say they) We must condemn his book We do 
not understand his argument ^. 

But it may perhaps be of use to Posterity at least, 
if ever these slight si -ets should happen to come down 
to it, to explain the provocation which our Author had 
given for so much unlimited abase and calumny. The 
Reader then may be pleased to know, that the Author s 
first Volume of The Dhine Legation oj Moses was as 
well a sequel and support of The Alliance between 
Church and State (a book written in behalf of our Con 
stitution and Established Clergy) as it was an introduc 
tion to a projected Defence of Revelation. It might 
likewise be regarded as an intire work of itself, to shew 
the usefulness of Religion to Society. This, and the 
large bulk of the Volume, disposed him to publish it 
apart; while the present state of Religion amongst us 
seemed to give it a peculiar expediency, tk an open and 
" professed disregard to Religion 5 (as an excellent Pas- 

* Dr. \Vebster by name. Who soon after, by a circular letter to 
the bench oi bishops, claimed a reward for this exploit, 
t Webster, Venn, Stebbing, Water-land, and others. 



tor of our Church observes) " being become the dis- 
" tinguishing character of the present age. An evil 
" grown to a great height in the Metropolis of the Na- 
" tion, and daily spreading through every part of it; 
" which hath already brought in such dissoluteness and 
" contempt of principle in the higher part of the world, 
" and such profligate intemperance and fearlessness 
" of committing crimes in the lower, as must, if this 
(s torrent of impiety stop not, become absolutely fatal *." 
Our Author therefore thought, that as this evil, which is 
now spread through the populace, began in the higher 
part of the zvorld, it must be first checked there, if ever it 
were checked at all. And he knew no better way to do 
this, than by sheuing those People of Condition (who, 
amidst all their contempt of religious Principle, yet pro 
fessed the greatest zeal tor their country and mankind) 
that Religion is absolutely necessary for the support of 
civil Government. He thought too, this no ill device 
to get the advocate of Revelation a fair hearing. For 
he supposed, that unless they could be made to see the 
usefulness of Christianity to Society (which their con 
tempt of Principle shewed they yet did not see) they 
would never be brought to believe its Truth, or Divinity. 

These were his endeavours and designs. What he 
got for his pains, I have already told the Reader. 

In vain had he endeavoured to deserve well of Re 
ligion at large, and of the Church of England in parti 
cular; by fixing the true grounds of morality; by 
confuting the atheistic arguments of Bayle, and the 
flagitious Principle of Mandeviile; by explaining the 
natures, settling the bounds, and adjusting the distinct 
rights of the two Societies; and by exposing the im 
pious tenet, of Religion s being the contrivance of Poli 

All this went for nothing with the Bigots. He had 
departed from the old posture of defence, and had pro 
jected a new plan for the support of Revelation. His 
Demonstration (says one of them) if he could make one 
of it. could never make us amends for changing our 
posture of defence, and deserting our strong holds ^. 

* Bishop of Oxford s Charge, London, 1738,410. p, 4. 
| Webster s .Country Clergyman s second Letter. 



For though they will talk, indeed, of the love of truth, and 
the invincible evidence of our Faith, yet I know not 
how, even amidst all their Zeal and Fury, they betray 
the most vvoful apprehensions of Christianity, and are 
frighted to death at every foolish Book new written 
against Religion, though it come but from the Mint or 
Bedlam. And what do our directing Engineers adv ise you 
to, in this exigence ? Do they bid you act offensively, 
and turn the enemies artillery upon them ? By no means. 
Keep within your strong holds. Watch where they 
direct their battery, and there to your old mud walls 
clap a buttress ; and so it be done with speed, no matter 
of what materials. If, in the mean time, one more bold 
than the rest, offer to dig away the rubbish that hides its 
beauty, or kick down an aukvvard prop that discredits 
its strength, he is sure to be called by these men, per 
haps to be thought by those who set them on work, a 
secret enemy, or an indiscreet friend *. He is sure to 
be assaulted with all the rude clamours and opprobrious 
names that Bigotry is ever ready to bestow on those it 
fears and hates. 

But this was the fortune of all his betters. It was 
the fortune of Hooker, Hales, Stillingfleet, Cudworth, 
Bp. Taylor. They w ere called Politiqucs, Sceptics, Eras- 
tians, Deists, and Atheists. But CUDWORTH S case was 
so particular, that it will excuse a little enlargement 

The Philosopher of Malmesbury was the terror of the 
last age, as Tindai and Collins have been of this. The 
press sweat with controversy : and every young Church 
man militant, would needs try his arms in thundering 
upon Hobbes s steel cap. The mischief his writings 
had done to Religion set Cudworth upon projecting its 
defence. Of this he published one immortal volume ; 
with a boldness uncommon indeed, but very becoming 
a man conscious of his own integrity and strength. For 
instead of amusing himself with Hobbes s peculiar whim 
sies, which in a little time were to vanish of themselves, 
and their answers with them ; which are all now for 
gotten, from the Curate s to the Archbishop s -f ; lie. 
launched out into the immensity of the Intellectual 
System-, and, at his first essay, penetrated the very 
* \Vaterland. f Tenisoo, 



darkest recesses of Antiquity, to strip ATHEISM of its 
disguises, and drag up the lurking Monster into day. 
Where, though few readers could follow him, yet the 
very slowest were able to overtake his purpose. And 
there wanted not country Clergymen to lead the cry, and 
tell the world, That, under pretence of defending Re 
velation, he wrote in the very manner that an artful 
Infidel might naturally be supposed to use in writing 
against it ; that he ha,d given us all the filthy stuff that . 
he could scrape together out of the sink of Atheism, as a 
natural introduction to a demonstration of the truth of 
Revelation : that with incredible industry and reading 
he had rummaged all antiquity for atheistical arguments, 
which he neither knew, nor intended to answer. In a 
word, that he was an Atheist in his heart, and an Arian 
in his book *. But the worst is behind. These silly 
calumnies were believed. The much injured Author 
grew disgusted. His ardour slackened : and the rest, 
and far greatest part of the Defence, never appeared. 
A Defence, that would have left nothing to do for such 
as our Author, but to read it; and for such as our Au 
thor s Adversaries, but to rail at it. 

Thus spiritual Hate, like carnal Love, levels all dis 
tinctions. And thus our Author came to be honoured 
with the same treatment which it had bestowed upon 
a CUDWORTH. But as this hate is for the most part, 
only envy, under the name of zeal, the Bigots, for their 
own ease, should be more cautious in conferring their 
favours. They have given our Author cause enough to 
be proud : who, as inconsiderable as he is, has, it seems, 

his ; as well as a LOCKE his Edwards, or a CHIL- 

LTNGWORTH his Cheynel. But alas ! the Public, I am 
afraid, distinguish better. They see, though these men 
cannot, that the Edwards s and Cheynels increase upon 
us, while the LOCKES and CHILLING WORTHS are be 
come exceeding rare. Turn then, good Creatures ! 
while you have time, turn your envy on their few re 
maining successors : and leave our Author in peace. 
He has parts ^had he but suitable morals) even to be of 

* See Webstes s Country Clergyman s first Letter against The 
Divine Legation ; and one Mr. Juhn Turner s discourse (a Clergy 
man likewise) against The Intellectual System. 



your party. But no time is to be lost. We have a 
sad prospect before us. The CHILLING WORTHS of 
the present age will, in a little time, be no more ; while 
the race of Cheynds threatens to be immortal. But 
this is the fate of human things. The Geese of the Ca 
pitol, we know, remained for ages, after those true 
defenders of it, the MAN LI i, the CAMILLI, the AFRI- 
CANI, were extinct and forgotten. 

And alas ! how ominous are the fears of friendship ! 
I had but just written this, when the death of Dr. 
FRANCIS HARE, late bishop of Chichester, gave me 
cause to lament my Divination. In him the Public has 
lost one of the best patrons and supports of letters and 
religion. How steadily and successfully he. employed 
his great talents of reason and literature, in opposing the 
violence of each religious party in their turns, when court- 
favour was betraying them into hurtful extremes, the 
unjust reproaches of Libertines and Bigots will never 
suffer us to forget. How generously he encouraged and 
rewarded Letters, let them tell who have largely shared 
in his beneficence : for his character may be trusted with 
his enemies, or even with his most obliged friends. In 
him our Author has lost, what he could but ill spare, one 
of the most candid of his Readers and ablest of his 
Critics. What he can never lose, is the honour of his 
esteem and friendship. 

But whatever advantage our Author may have re 
ceived from the outrage of his enemies, the Public is a 
real sufferer. He had indeed the honour to be known 
to those few, who could have corrected his errors, re 
formed his course, and shewn him safely through the " 
wide and trackless waste of ancient times. But the ca 
lumnies of the Bigots obliged him to a kind of quarantain, 
as coming lately from suspected places, from the cabinet- 
council of Old Lawgivers, and the schools of Heathen 
Philosophers , whose infection was supposed to be yet 
sticking on him. And under such circumstances it is 
held ill* breeding to come near our Superiors. 

This disadvantage was the more sensible to him, as 
few writers have been under greater obligations to con 
sult the satisfaction of capable readers ; who gave his 
first Volume so kind a reception ; and waited with a 

VOL. IV. D favourable 


favourable expectation for the following. And if he 
has made these readers wait too long, he has only this 
to say, that he would not follow the example of para 
doxical writers, who only aim to strike by a novelty. 
For as his point was truth, he was content his notions 
should become stale and common, and forego all ad 
vantages but their native evidence, before he sub 
mitted the prosecution of them to the judgment of the 





THE subject of these Volumes had occasionally led me 
to say many things of the genius and constitution of 
PAGAN Religion, in order to illustrate the divinity of 
the JEWISH and the CHRISTIAN : Amongst the rest, I 
attempted to explain the true origin of that opprobrium 
of our common nature, PERSECUTION FOR OPINIONS * : 
And I flattered myself, I had done REVELATION good 
service, in shewing that this evil owed its birth to the 
absurdities of Pagan Religion, and to the iniquities of 
Pagan Politics: for that the persecutions of the later 
Jews, and afterwards, of the first Christians, arose from 
the reasonable constitution of these two Religions, which, 
by avoiding idolatry, opposed that universal principle 
of paganism, INTERCOMMUNITY or WORSHIP; or, in 
other words, That the Jews and Christians were perse 
cuted as the enemies of mankind, for not having Gods in 
common with the rest of the World. 

But a learned Critic and Divine hath lately under 
taken to expose my mistake; He hath endeavoured to 
prove, that the first persecution for opinion was of 
Christian original ; and that the Pagans persecuted the 
primitive Church, not, as I had represented the matter, 
for the unsociable genius of its Religion, which forbad 
all intercourse with idolaters, but for its NOCTURNAL 
and CLANDESTINE ASSEMBLIES. From whence it fol 
lows, as will be seen by and by, that the first Christians 
were fanatics, libertines, or impostors; and that the 
persecuting Emperors, provident for the public safety, 
legally pursued a bigotted or immoral, sect, for a CRIME 
OF STATE, and not for matter of opinion. 

* See Div. Leg. Vol. II. b. ii. sect. 6, 

P2 H 


If it be asked, How a Doctor of Laws, a Minister 
of the Gospel, and- a Judge ecclesiastical, would ven 
ture to amuse us with so strange a fancy; all I can say 
for it is, he had the pleasure, in common with many 
other witty men, of writing against The Divine Lega 
tion- and he had the pleasure too, in common with 
many wise men, of thinking he might indulge himself in 
any liberties against a writer whom he had the precau 
tion not to name. But he says, he never read the D. L. 
I can easily believe him ; And will do him this further 
justice, that, when many have written against it without 
reading it, he is the first who has had the ingenuity to 
own it. 

His system or hypothesis, as we find it in a late 
quarto volume, called Elements of the Civil Law *, is, 
in substance, this, " That the same principle, which 
" set the Roman Senate upon prosecuting the abomi- 
" nable HITES OF BACCHUS, excited the Roman Em- 
" perors to persecute the PRIMITIVE CHURCH." 

But it is fit, this marvellous discovery should be re 
vealed in his own words It may be asked (says he) 
in that almost universal licence and toleration, which the 
ancients, the Romans particularly, extended to the pro 
fessors of all religions whatsoever* why the Christian 
profession alone, which might have expected a favour 
able treatment, seems to stand exempted, and frequently 
felt the severity of the bitterest persecution -f. If the 
learned Critic be serious in asking a question, which had 
been answered, and as would seem, to the general satis 
faction, near twenty years ago, I suppose it is, to intimate 
that no other answer will content him but one from the 
Persecutors themselves. This then he shall have ; though 
it be of sixteen hundred years standing. 

PLINY the younger, when proconsul of Bithynia, 
acquaints his master with the reasons why HE perse 
cuted; and the satisfaction he had in so doing: " Ne- 
" que dubitabam, qualecurnque esset quod mterentur, 
" T JON EM debere puniri^." What was this f reward 
and inflexible obstinacy? He tells us, it>was refusing 

* By the Rev. Dr. TAYLOR, Chancellor of Liicoln. 
t Page 579. + Lib. x. Ep. 97. 


EDITION OF 1758. 37 

all intercommunity with paganism ; it was refusing to 
throw a single grain of incense on their altars. 

TACITUS, speaking of the persecution which followed 
the burning of Rome by Nero (the impiety of which 
action that mad tyrant had charged upon the Christians) 
says, " llaucl perinde in crimine incendii, quam ODIO 
" HUM AN i GENERIS convicti stint**" By which, I 
understand him to mean, That though the emperor 
falsely charged them with the burning of Rome, yet the 
people acquiesced in the persecution, on account of the 
enormous crime of which they were convicted, [i. e> 
judged guilty in the opinion of all men ;] their hatred to 
the whole race of mankind^ ; for nothing but such an 
unnatural aversion, they thought, could induce men to 
persevere in rejecting so universal a principle, as inter 
community of worship. 

The good emperor AURELIUS was himself a perse 
cutor. It is not to be doubted, when he speaks in 
condemnation of the Christian sect, but that he would 
tell the worst he conceived of them : and it must cer- 

* Ann. 1. xv. c. 44. 

f Tacitus, speaking of the Jews, observes that, the end of their 
peculiar Rites was to separate them from all other people. From 
their separation he inferred their aversion. In this sense we are to 
understand him and other Pagan writers, when they exclaim against 
the Jews for their peculiar Rites. Each Nation had its own: so 
that, pccvliarity was a circumstance common to all. What dif 
ferenced the Jewish Rites from all others was their end-, which was 
to keep the People from all intercommunity with the several religions 
of Paganism ; each of which, how different soever in their Rites, held 
fellowship with one another. But here a famous French Critic, who 
writes de omni scibili, comes in support ot our English Critic s sys 
tem of the PSEUDO-MARTYRS of the primitive Church, and says, we 
all mistake Tacitus s Latin. His words are these " J oserais dire 
que ces mots odio irttmaw generis convicti peuvent bien signifier, dans 
le stile de Tacite, convaincus d etre haia du genrc-humain, autant que 
cmivainciLs de hair ie gciire-humain." [Traite sur la Tolerance, 1763, 
p. 60.] He tells us, He dare say, what not one of 

" Westminster s bold race 

dare say, that these words, odio hiimani generis convicti, may well 
signify, in the style of Tacitus, convicted of being hated by the human 
ract y as well as convicted of hating the human rac." And now Ta 
citus, so long famed for his political sagacity, will be made to pro 
nounce this galimatias from his oracular Tripod, " The Jews were not 
" convicted so properly for the CRIME of setting Jlre to Rome, .as for 
" the CRIME OF BEING HATED by all mankind. 

D 3 tainl/ 


tainly have been that worst, which made him a Perse 
cutor, so much against the mildness of his nature and 


the equity of his philosophic manners. Now this sage 
magistrate, in his book of Meditations, speaking of the 
wise man s readiness to give up life, expresses himself 
in this manner, " He should be so prepared that his 
<( readiness may be seen to be the issue of a well- 
" weighed judgment, not the effect of MERE OBSTI- 
" NACY, like that of the Christians *." For intercom 
munity being in the number of first principles, to deny 
these, could be owing to nothing but to mere obstinacy, 
or downright stupidity. Here, the mistaken duty of the 
magistrate, overcame the lenity of the man, and the 
justice of the philosopher : at other times, his specula 
tions happily got the better of his practice. In his 
constitution to ike community of Asia, recorded by Eu- 
sebius, he says, " I know the Gods are watchful to 
" discover such sort of men. And it is much fitter that 
" they themselves should punish those who REFUSE TO 
" WORSHIP THEM, than that we should interfere in 
" their quarrel -f." The emperor, at length, speaks 
out: and what we could only infer from Pliny, from 
Tacitus, and from the passage in the Meditations, he 
now declares in so many words; viz. that THE CHRIS 


Lastly, the imperial Sophist, who, of all the idolaters, 
was most learned in this mystery of iniquity, as having 
employed all his politics and his pedantry to varnish 
over the deformities of persecution, frankly owns, that 
" the Jews and Christians brought the execration of the 
world upon them, by their AVERSION TO THE GODS OF 


To $1 sfrofjt/oy TTO, I t/x iiro totfcJ 
L. xi. 3. 

j- Ey p? o, art xa; TOK *4 

(txaXXci/ IKUVW xoXacrauy at ra? py ^aXo^HVtf ? atra? 

Ts. Eccl. Hist. l.iv. c. 13. 

a, TO, Ov Tcrjjo0->ft>}crEK $fo~<; trspoic. o $v piytx, T?? wtfi rl/v Ssor 
o? yap fyiXulvs Qyffi "A<pe7s raTov TOV A^ov, xat p.n 
\(f>* vp$ avTtff i ^nels ^Aaa^/^ian. JuLlAN apud Cyril. 
cont. Jul. lib. v, 


EDITION OF 1758. 39 

We have seen, from the MAGISTRATE S own testi 
mony, what it was for which he persecuted. We shall 
now see, from the PEOPLE S demand, that they required 
the exertion of his power, on no other account. It was 
usual in their sanguinary shows, when criminals and of 
fending slaves were exposed to the beasts, to call out 
for and demand execution on the Christians, by the 
formula of AIPE TOTS A0EOTS. This was their early 
language, when they required Polycarp for the slaughter. 
The name ATHEIST was only one of their more odious 
terms, for a rejector of their Gods. And it was but 
too natural, when they wanted to have their rage and 
cruelty thus gratified, to use expressions, which, at the 
same time that the terms were most calumniating, im 
plied the very crime for which the magistrate was wont 
to persecute. 

What says our learned Civilian to this evidence-? He 
allows Antiquity to have proved the Fact, that the 
pagan emperors did persecute. But for what, is a ques 
tion (says he) that may still be asked. And the true 
answer, with your leave, he thinks himself better able 
to give than the Persecutors themselves. My reader 
(these are his words) will grant the fact ; and I COME 
NOW TO ACCOUNT FOR IT. The account, we find, had 
been settled long ago. What of that? It fyad never 
passed through his philologic Office ; and therefore lay 
still open till our master-critic was at leisure to exa 
mine it. 

// is not true (says this redresser of wrongs) that the 
primitive Christians held their assemblies in the night 
time to avoid the interruptions of the civil power But 
the converse oj that proposition is true IN THE UTMOST 
LATITUDE, viz. that they met with molestations from 
that quarter^ because their assemblies were nocturnal*. 

He says, it is not true : The Christian Church says, 
it is. Who shall decide? A bundle of Grammarians; 
or the college of Apostles ? I know his mind : and I 
guess at my reader s : And of the two, being at present 
more disposed to gratify the latter, I shall, for once, 
venture to bring our Civilian before a foreign Judicatoiy, 
that is to say, HOLY SCRIPTURE. 

* Elements of the Civil Law, p. 5^. 

D 4 From 


From Scripture we learn, that the first Christian 
assembly, held in the night-time, was the very, night 
after the RESURRECTION ; when the disciples met in a 
clandestine manner, with the doors made fast upon them; 
and this, we are assured, was to avoid the interruptions 
of the civil power-, or, in the plainer words of St. John, 
FOR FEAR OF TiiK JEWS*: for the Soldiers story of 
the resurrection began now to make a noise ; and the 
Jewish rulers were much startled and enraged at it, 
Hut when the fright of the disciples was a little over, and 
things had subsided into a calm, the next assembly, 
we hear of, uas ///. the day-time; without any marks of 
the former wary circumspection -f . These open meet 
ings were repeated as often as the returns of public 
worship required : sometimes shifting from house to 
house; sometimes more stationary in the Temple J; 

But when now the MIRACLES, worked by the apostles 
in confirmation of the soldiers story, had alarmed the 
rulers afresh ; and Peter and John, whom they had put 
into prison, were, on their releasement, enjoined silence, 
the Church, assembled in this exigence to implore the 
Divine direction touching the extent of their obedience 
to the civil power, was answered by sensible signs from 
heaven, as at the day of Pentecost And when they had 
prayed (says the historian) the place was shaken where 
they were assembled together ; and they were all filled 
with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the .word of God 


Here we see, that this second persecution had a dif 
ferent effect upon the Church from the former. At 
first, they assembled in a clandestine manner for fear 
of the JEWS; now, they continued openly in the Temple 
to speak the word of God with boldness. This conduct 
seemed good to the Holy Ghost : and the reason is not 
difficult to comprehend. The Church was now, for the 
first time, solemnly enjoined silence by Authority. It 
was fit it should be as solemnly decided, Who was to be 
obeyed; GOD, or the civil Magistrate. But this was 
not all : the decision served another very great purpose ; 
it served, to disseminate the Faith : for the natural con 
sequence of the disciples persisting to discharge their 

*. John xx, 19. f Acts 1,14. ii, i. J Ib. ii. 46. Ib. iv. 31. 


EDITION OF 1758. 41 

ministry, after they had been formally forbidden, was their 
being scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea 
and Samaria *. Had the Church taken its usual remedy 
against civil violence, namely, secret assemblies (which, 
in ordinary cases, modesty and a sober regard to au 
thority prescribe), the faithful had not been dispersed ; 
and the purpose of Divine Providence, in the speedy pro 
pagation of the Gospel, had not been properly effected. 

This being the case, in the interval between the dis 
persion, and St. Paul s miraculous conversion, we hear 
of no nocturnal assemblies-, unless you reckon in the 
number that between the Disciples and their illustrious 
Convert, on the town- wall of Damascus, when they let 
him down in a basket, to escape his persecutors f . In 
this condition, things remained till Paul s return to Je 
rusalem : and then, says my text, the Churches had 
rest throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria . 

From this time, till Herod s persecution , we have 
not one word of any nocturnal assembly of the Faithful : 
but no sooner did that persecution commence, than those 
meetings were again re-assumed. The Church assembled 
at midnight, to pray for Peter s deliverance out of prison : 
and he, \vhen he was delivered by their prayers, found 
more difficulty to get to his secreted friends than to 
escape from his gaolers ||. 

In a word, from this history of the first propagation 
of the Faith, we learn, that, in times of persecution, the 
Church assembled by stealth, and in the night : but 
whenever they had a breathing -time, and were at liberty 
to worship God according to their conscience, they always 
met together openly, and in the face of day. Thus when 
Paul came first to Rome (where this sect shared in the 
general toleration of foreign worship, till the magistrate 
understood that it condemned the great principle of in 
tercommunity) we learn, that he freely discharged the 
office of his ministry from morning to night ^[. And 
the sacred writer, as if on purpose to insinuate, that, 
when the Church had rest from persecution, it never 
crept into holes and corners, ends his narrative in this 
manner ; And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own 

* Acts viii. i. f Ibid. ix. 25. J Ver. 31. 

Ib. xii. i. !| Ib. xii. 13. H Ib. xxviii. 13. 



hired house, and RECEIVED ALL that came in unto him ; 
preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things 
which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confi 

It may be objected, perhaps, " that the question is, 
of the persecuting Pagans ; and all that has been here 
said, concerns the persecuting Jews only." It does so : 
But who can help it ? The Jews happened to persecute, 
first. As to the question, that which is essential in it 
is only this, Whether the primitive Christians held their 
clandestine assemblies to avoid persecution; or, whether 
they were persecuted for holding clandestine assemblies ? 
Who persecuted, whether Jews or Pagans, is merely 
incidental to the question, and wholly indifferent to the 
decision of it. But it may still be said, " That the 
Christians having thus gotten the habit of clandestine 
assemblies in Judea ; by that time Churches became 
formed in the midst of Paganism, they continued the 
same mode of worship, though the occasion of its in 
troduction was now over ; so that the learned Doctor s 
position may yet be true, That, the Pagans persecuted 
for those clandestine meetings, which had been first 
begun in Juclea, to avoid persecution, and were now 
continued in contempt of authority." To this I answer, 
that tbefoct, on the Doctors otc-n principles, is impos 
sible. According to his principles, clandestine meetings 
must be prosecuted as soon as observed ; and they are 
of a nature to be observed as soon as practised. Now 
all Antiquity, both profane and sacred, assures us, 
that the Christian Church was not persecuted on its 
first appearance amongst the Pagans : who were not 
easily brought, even when excited by the Jews, to 
second their malice, or to support their impotence. 

But the fact is, in the highest degree, improbable on 
any principles. Had our learned Critic consulted what 
Philosophers, and not what Philologists, call HUMANITY, 
that is, the workings of our common nature, he had never 
fallen into so absurd a conceit, as that the inspired pro 
pagators of a Revelation from heaven should, without 
any reasonable cause, and only in imitation of pagan 
worship, affect clandestine and nocturnal meetings. For 
* Acts xxviii, 30, 31. 


EDITION OF 1758. 43 

lie might have seen, that so strange a conduct had not 
only been in contempt of their divine Master s example, 
who, at his arraignment before the high priest, said, 
/ spake OPEXLY to the icotid\ and ix SECRET hare I 
said nothing * ; but likewise in defiance of his injunction, 
when he sent them to propagate the faith, Wtoti I tell 
you IN DARKNESS, that shall you speak IN THE LIGHT: 
and what ye hear IN THE EAH, that preach ye UPON 
THE HOUSE-TOPS f. Had our Clitic (I say) paid that 
attention to human nature and to the course of .the moral 
world, which he has misapplied upon an old mouldy 
brass, and a set of strolling Bacchanals ;, he might have 
understood, that the first Christians, under the habitual 
guidance of the Holy Spirit, could never have recourse 
to nocturnal or clandestine conventicles, till driven to 
them by the violence of persecution : he might have un 
derstood, that the free choice of such assemblies must 
needs be an after- practice, when churchmen had debased 
the truth and purity of Religion by human inventions and 
sordid superstitions : when, an emulous affectation of 
MYSTEHY, and a mistaken zeal for the tombs of the 
MARTYRS, had made a Hierarchy of that, which at 
first was only a Gospel-ministry, 

On the whole therefore, we need not, I think, ask 
leave of this learned man to continue in our opinion, that 
the primitive Christians held their assemblies in the night 
time to avoid the interruptions of the civil poicer ; and 
to esteem his CONVERSE proposition, as he affects to call 
it ( of ^ their meeting icith mo lest at ion from that quarter* 
BECAUSE their assemblies icere nocturnal) as a mere 
dream or vision. 

But to hide nothing which may concern a matter of 
such importance as our Critic s Discoveries ; I will in 
genuously confess, how much soever it may make against 
me, that there are instances in sacred story of meetings 
at midnight and before dawn of day, to which no inter 
ruption of the civil Power had driven the disciples of 

* John xviii. 20. t Matt. x. 27. 

| All these refined speculations concerning persecution, are at 
tl-e end of the said book of Elements ; in a dissertation on a curious 
ancient tablet, containing the senatorial decree against a crew of 
wicked Bacchanals, of the size and dignity of our modern Gypsies. 

20 Christ ; 


Christ ; but which were evidently clone in contempt and 
defiance of that Power : such, for example, was the 
clandestine meeting between Mary and the two Angels ^ 
at the sepulchre * : that between the Apostles and the 
Angel of the Lord in the common prison \ : and that, 
again, between Peter and the same AngelJ: not to 
speak of another famous midnight assembly between Paul, 
Silas, the Gaoler, and an Earthquake . 

We come now to the learned person s second propo 
sition, called by way of eminence, the CONVERSE ; which 
affirms, That the primitive Christians met with moles 
tations from the civil power, because their assemblies 
were nocturnal. And this he assures us is true IN THE 
UTMOST LATITUDE ; which in his language, I suppose, 
signifies, true in the EXACTEST SENSE ; for his argu 
ment requires some such meaning. Now in common 
English true in the utmost latitude, signifies true, in 
the LOWEST SENSE ; for the greater latitude you give 
to any thing, the looser you make it. This most elo 
quent editor of Demosthenes, therefore, by utmost la 
titude may be allowed to mean, what makes most to his 
purpose ; though it be what an Englishman would least 
suspect, utmost strictness. And now for his reasoning. 
By the molestations the Christians met with, we must 
needs understand the FIRST molestations ; all other being 
nothing to the purpose: for when persecution was once 
on foot, I make no doubt but the nocturnal assemblies, 
to which persecution had driven them, gave fresh um 
brage to the Civil power; it being of the nature of a 
persecuting spirit to take offence at the very endeavours 
to evade its tyranny. The question between the learned 
Civilian and me, is, What gave birth to thejirst, and 
continued to be the general, cause of persecution? He 
says it arose from nocturnal and clandestine assemblies : 
I suppose it to be occasioned by the Atheistic renun 
ciation of the Gods of Paganism. 

Now it seems to be a violent prejudice against the 
learned Critic s system, that no one of those persecutors 
ever assigned nocturnal assemblies as ihejirst or general 
cause of persecution ; and equally favourable tor my 

* John xx. 11, 12. f Acts v. 18, 19, 

J Acts xii. 7, 8. Ib. xvi. 25. 


EDITION OF 1758. 45 

opinion, that they all concur in giving another cause ; 
namely, the unhospitable temper of the Christians, in 
refusing to have Gods in common with the rest of man 

PLINY, in doubt how to act with the Christians of 
his district, writes to his master for instructions. His 
embarras, he tells the emperor, was occasioned by his 
never having been present at their examinations ; which 
made him incapable of judging what* or how he was to 
prosecute. Cognitionibus de Christianis interfui nun- 
" quam : ideo nescio quid et quatenus aut puniri soleat 
" aut quseri." He wanted to know, whether the very 
NAME was not criminal ; either for itself, or for some 

mischief hid under it " Nomen ipsum etiam si fta- 

" gitiis careat, an flagitia cohaerentia nomini puniantur." 
But could a Roman Magistrate, when at a loss for a 
pretence to persecute, overlook so fair a one as voluntary, 
unforced clandestine assemblies, and hunt after a mormo 
hid in the combination of four syllables ? Not that he 
wanted a Precedent for proceeding on these visionary 
grounds ; but the very Precedent shews that the Per 
secutors wanted better. TERTULLIAN assures us, that 
the Christians had been actually persecuted for the 
NAME only : " Non scelus aliquod in causa, sed NOMEN; 
" Christianus, si nullius criminis reus, nomen valde 
" infesturn, si solius nominis crimen est si nominis 
" odium est, quis nominum reatus : quae accusatio vo- 
<c cabulorum ? nisi si aut barbarum sonat aliqua vox 
" nominis, aut infaustum, aut maiedicum, aut impu- 
" dicum," &c. From whence, by the way, allow me to 
conclude, that when a harmless NAME becomes so odious 
as to occasion the Sect, which bears it, to be persecuted, 
the aversion must arise from some essential principle of 
that Sect, and not from a casual circumstance attending 
their religious practice. But to return to Pliny; at last 
he discovers something worthy of animadversion. It 


" neque dubitabam, qualecumque esset quod faterentur, 
c pervicaciam certe et inftejcibilem obstinationem debere 
" puniri." Now is it possible, if the Christians were 
first persecuted, and continued to be persecuted, for 
holding their assemblies in the night-time, that Pliny, 



after so much experience of it, should not know the 
crime, nor how to proceed against the offenders ? What 
is still more unaccountable, TRAJAN, in answer to this 
application, is unable to deliver any general rule for the 
direction of his Minister " Neque enim in universutn 
" aliquid, quod quasi certain formain habeat, constitui 
" potest." Hut the assembling in a clandestine manner 
by night y if this was the Crime which gave offence, is 
an action that admits of few modifications in a Court of 
Justice ; and so might be commodiously submitted to a 
general rule On the other hand, if what the author of 
The Divine Lcgatiwvmys, be true, that they were per 
secuted for opposing the principle of INTERCOMMUNITY, 
we see plainly why no general rule could be delivered. 
They expressed this opposition in various ways and 
manners; some more, some less, offensive : by simply 
refusing to worship with the Pagans, when called upon ; 
by running to their tribunals uncalled ; byjnaking a pro 
fession of their faith, unasked ; or by affronting the na 
tional religion, unprovoked. Now, so just and clement 
a prince as Trajan might well think, these different 
modes of expressing their abhorrence of intercommunity 
deserved different degrees of animadversion. 

When Nero, in a mad frolic, set Rome on fire, and 
then threw that atrocious act upon the Christians, it is 
highly probable that the nocturnal assemblies of the 
Faithful (which, by this time, persecution had introduced 
amongst them) first started the happy thought, and en 
couraged him to pursue it. Now, if this, which is very 
probable, and our Critic s hypothesis, which is very 
improbable, be both true, I cannot see how it was pos 
sible for TACITUS, when he acquits them of this ca 
lumny, and at the same time expresses the utmost 
virulence against them, to omit the mention of their noc 
turnal assemblies, had they been begun without necessity, 
and obstinately continued after the civil magistrate had 
forbidden them. Instead of this, all he had to object 
to the Christians, was their odium humani generis : of 
which, indeed, he says, they were convicted ; convict i 
sunt : an expression, without either propriety or truth, 
unless we suppose he understood their refusal of inter 
community to be a conviction ; other proof there was none : 


EDITION OF 1758. 47 

for when examined on the rack concerning this hatred 
of mankind*, they constantly denied the charge ; and ap 
pealed as well to their principles as their practice ; both 
of which declared their universal love and benevolence 
to all the creatures of God. But to reprobate the Gods 
of Rome, the Or bis Romanus, fof which our Critic 
can tell us wonders) w r as proclaiming hatred and aversion 
to all the world. Hence it is that Quintilian, speaking 
of the topics of dispraise, says that the Author of the 
Jewish Religion, (equally reprobating, with the Author 
of the Christian, the universal principle of intercom 
munity) was deservedly hated and held ignominious as 
the founder of a sup erst it ion which was the BANE of all 
other Religions Et parentes malorum odimus : Et est 
conditoribus urbium infamise, contraxisse aliquam PER- 
NICIOSAM casteris gentem, qualis est primus Judaicae 
superstitionis Auctor. But why pernicious and baleful 
to the rest, if not by accusing and condemning all other 
Institutions of error and imposture ? 

MARCUS AURELIUS and JULIAN were vigilant and 
active ; well instructed in the rights of Society ; and not 
a little jealous of the interests of the Magistrate. Yet 
neither of these princes ever accuse the Christians of 
running to nocturnal assemblies unprovoked, or of 
persisting in the practice against imperial edicts. What 
a field was here for Aurelius, who despised them, to 
urge his charge of brutal obstinacy ; and for Julian, 
who feared them, to cry aloud of danger to the state ; 
their two favourite topics against these enemies of their 
Religion and Philosophy ! 

But sacred story may help us out where the civil fails : 
let us see then how this matter stands represented in 
Scripture : for I make our Critic s cause my own, as sup 
posing we are both in the pursuit of Truth. 

I have already given a brief account of the Assemblies 
of the infant-church, as they are occasionally mentioned 
in the history of the Acts of the Apostles. 

Our Critic s converse proposition, which we are now 
upon, only requires us to shew in what light the perse 
cutors of the Apostles considered this matter; and 

* i. e. Concerning their principles and their practice, from whence 
the Pagans inferred their fiatred of mankind, 



whether. nocturnal assemblies, when any such were held, 
either gave advantage to their Jewish accusers, or um 
brage to the pagan Magistrate, before whom the propa 
gators of the Gospel were convened. 

The persecutions recorded in the history of the Acts 
were almost all of them raised, or at least, fomented, by 
the Jews. Their several accusations against those they 
called apostate brethren are minutely recorded : and yet 
the crime of assembling by night is never brought into 
account. In the mean time, their point was to make 
the unwilling Magistrate the instrument of their malice: 
for this reason, they omitted nothing which might tend to 
alarm the jealousy of the State ; as when they accused 
the Christians of setting up another king, against Caesar. 
Had their nocturnal assemblies therefore been held out 
of choice, they would not have neglected this advantage, 
since nothing could more alarm the civil Magistrate 
than such assemblies. The truth is, the Jews could not 
be ignorant of the advantage this would afford them. 

O c5 

But conscience and humanity are not to be overcome at 
once. To accuse those they hated, of what they them 
selves had occasioned, required a hardiness in vice which 
comes only by degrees ; and after a long habit of 
abusing civil justice and the common rights of mankind. 

Our Critic, perhaps, may be ready to say, ^ That 
it is probable the Jews did accuse the Christian Church 
of this misdemeanor, though the historian, in his suc 
cinct history of the Acts, hath omitted to record it." 

. But this subterfuge will never pass with those who 
consider how unwilling the Roman Magistrate always 
was to interfere in their contests, as clearly apprehend 
ing, the subject of them to be of certain matters con 
cerning their law: ,.so that, under this disposition, 
nothing could be more effectual to quicken his jealousy 
and resentment, than the charge of clandestine assem 
blies , of which, doubtless, the Romans were very 
jealous, as contrary to their fundamental Laws, though 
not so extravagantly umbragious as our Critic s hypothe 
sis obliges him to suppose. 

But it will be said, " Were clandestine meetings never 
objected to the primitive Christians ? " Yes, very often. 
CELSUS objected such meetings to them, as things 


EDITION OF 1758. 49 

contrary to law *. But ORIUEN S reply will set matters 
right. He says, the Church was driven upon this ob 
noxious measure to avoid the unjust persecution of its 
enemies -j* : Nay Celsus, in a more ingenuous humour, 
confesses, they had reason for what they did ; there 
beini* no other way to escape the severest punishments +. 
At least then, I have the honour of finding this reverend 
Epicurean on my side, against our Civilian and his 
converse proposition. 

These meetings, therefore, it is confessed, subjected 
the Church to much censure ; but that was all. Tertul- 
lian, vindicating the Christians on this head, says 
" Ha3c coitio christianorum merito sane illicita, si illi- 
f citis par ; merito damnanda, si qais de ea queritur eo 
" titulo quod de factionibus querela est ." The passage 
is remarkable ; and shews, not only that the Christians 
were never brought into condemnation for nocturnal 
meetings; but, why they were not; namely, because 
nothing bad or even suspicious could be proved against 
them. The law of the twelve tables says, " Si qui in 
" urbe costus nocturnos agitassit, capital esto;" mean 
ing, if celebrated without the licence of the magistrate |[. 
The Christians applied for this licence : it was denied 
them. They assembled : and such assemblies are only 
liable to animadversion, if any thing criminal or immoral 
be committed in them. Crimes were indeed pretended; 
but on enquiry, as we find by Pliny, they could not be 

* Qffen xoU s/x5 ytyvifla. Orig. COllt. Gels. 
f ot Tro rS xotvS x &, . 

TtfTO GTQlUfflV, &TS ^WOtf/X-ECOt TV fTTVlypttiW VTO*V ^WMJ* 

Apol. cap. xxxviii. 

H This appears to be the true sense of the Law, from a passage in 
Cicero s dialogue De Lcgibus. Atticus thought him too severe upon 
nocturnal assemblies: he vindicates himself by observing, that, even 
in the midst of Greece, Diagondas, the Theban, totally abolished 
them. Ne nos duriores forte videamur, in media Graecia, Diagondas 
Thebanus lege perpetua sustulit. Froui hence I infer these two 
things; That, were not the Law of the twelve tables to be understood 
in the sense here given to it, Cicero needed not have gone so far as 
Thebes for his justification : and secondly, that his laying so much 
tress upon the abolition s being made in the midst of Greece, shews 
how strongly, in his opinion, that country was attached to nocturnal 

VOL. IV, E proved, 


proved. This I take to be the true explanation of Ter- 
tullian s argument: by which we understand that the 
Christians were not persecuted, but only calamniatedy 
for their nocturnal assemblies. 

Maximus, a pagan Philosopher of Madaura, desires 
to know of AUSTIN why the Christians so much affected 
mystery. To which the answer is, " That, without 
" doubt, this idolater did not mean, the meetings in 
" caverns and sepulchres, in which the faithful were 
" wont to assemble during the heat of persecution but 
" their mysteries of Baptism and the Lord s Supper *. * 
St. Austin supposes Maximus did not intend to object to 
their clandestine meetings : however, if he did, he is 
ready to justify them on the plea of necessity, and to 
avoid persecution. Another sad discredit to the con 
verse proposition. 

But since our Civil Judge is so eager to have the pri 
mitive Christians found guilty of a crime of state, at his 
tribunal ; I will, out of tenderness to his credit^ and 
deference to his authority, consent to give them up ; and 
airly confess, they were not only accused, but even 
punished for high treason, the crimen l&s& majestatis. 
The process was thus carried on. Christians refused to 
worship the Gods of Rome. Sacrificing for the safety 
of the empire, and for the life of the emperor, made 
part of that worship. If the Christians could not wor 
ship, they could not sacrifice: But this sacrifice was 
esteemed a necessary part of civil obedience. The 
omission of it, therefore, was a crime of state, and 
amounted to high treason. Tertullian sums up the 
charge, and pleads guilty to it. " Deos inquitis (says 
he, repeating the pagan accusation) non colitis, et 
pro imperatoribus sacrificia non impenditis : sacrile- 

* gii & majestatis rei convenimur. SUM MA HJEC CAU- 

* SA, IMO TOTA EST." Here again we see, Antiquity 
gives the exclusion to the converse proposition: for if 
this was the only cause of persecution, certainly noctur 
nal assemblies was not one. I could wish therefore, by 
this crime of state, to save the learned Doctor s credit 
and authority. But I am afraid, on examination, it will 
prove no more than their refusal to communicate in 

* Ep.xlivo 


EDITION OF 1758. 51 

pagan worship. Tertullian himself, in the passage quoted 
above, makes it amount to no more. However, it was 
esteemed to be the crimen ICESCE majestatis : and this we 
are not to wonder at ; for one of the greatest ornaments 
of Paganism, long before the moving this question, had 
declared, that even the exclusive worship of one God 
came pretty near the matter. MAJESTATEM IMPERII 


says Cicero, in his -oration for Flaecus. 

You see then, at length, to what our Critic s discovery 
amounts. No marvel he triumphs in it. c< And now 
" (says he) can any one doubt that the considerations I 
" have mentioned, were those which GAVE AN EDGE to 
* the Roman persecutions ? The professors of Chris- 
" tianity had NO REASON to be apprehensive of any 
" severities upon the score of religion, any more than 
" the professors of ANY OTHER RELIGION besides. 
" Antiquity, in its public capacity, was generally very 
" indulgent to all who dissented from the established 
" worship: persecution for DIFFERENCE OF BELIEF 
" ALONE owes its nativity to more modern ages, and 
c Spain was its country; where Priscillian, by some, is 
" held to be the first sufferer for mere opinion." 

PP- 579 58o. 

-And now can any one doubt that the considerations 

I have mentioned were those which GAVE AN EDGE to 
the Roman persecutions? For a trusty Guide, allow 
me to recommend him to the reader ; whom he is ready 
to mislead, the very first step he makes. The question 
is, and so he himself has stated it, what OCCASIONED 
the Roman persecutions ? Here, he changes it to What 
GAVE AN EDGE to them ? Nocturnal assemblies might 
give an edge to the persecutions, and yet all be true that 
his Adversary affirms, and the persecutions be occa 
sioned by a very different thing. But our Critic is so 
highly figurative, and often so sublime, as to transcend 
the common liberties of speech. Thus he speaks of An 
tiquity in its public capacity, meaning, I suppose, the 
civil states of Greece and Home ; though in the mode 
of ordinary language it would be no inelegant periphrasis 
again he talks of the nativity of persecution, and of its 

E 2 * being 


being a native of Spain ; and yet he seems not to mean, 
as you vvould fancy, its birth, but its education. For he 
tells us (p. 583) it was born long before, in Egypt; 
where it occasioned, what he calls, their holy wars \ 
which, by his own account, were persecutions for dif 
ference of belief alone. However, as this Egyptian in 
trigue was but a miscarriage, and a kind of coining 
before its time, he forces it to enter again into the womb 
of Fate, and to be born, we see, a second time for the 
honour of Christianity. Since, then, our Critic s figures are 
so new, and of so transcendent a kind, why may we not 
suppose that, the giving an edge to persecution, may sig 
nify the giving a sword to it, and then all will be right. 

The professors of Christianity (says he) had no 
reason to be apprehensive of any severities upon the score 
of Religion. The more fools they; when their Master 
had pointed out so many. If they had no reason, it must 
be because no reason would make an impression. For 
they were frequently reminded by him, of what they 
were to suffer, not indeed for assembling in the night 
time, but for his NAME S SAKE, and because of the 
WORD*. St. Paul too had expressly assured the 
churches, that all who live godly in ferns Christ shall 
suffer persecution^. But where was the wonder, that 
they, who paid so little attention to their Master, should 
pay still less to their Fellow-servant ? 

Hear me out, however, cries our learned Critic : 
I affirm that the professors of Christianity had no reason 
to be apprehensive of any severities upon the score of 
Religion, ANY MORE than the professors of any other 
sect or religion besides. On my word, he has mended 
matters greatly ! What, had the professors of other 
sects or religions any PROPHECIES or REVELATIONS of 
severities upon the score of religion f 

But, from this essential difference in the external 
circumstances of these two sets of Professors, the Pagan 
and the Christian, we will turn to the internal: And, 
under this head, let me ask another question. The Pro 
fessors of the faith held it to be unlawful, and a deadly 
sin, to have communion or fellowship with the Gods of 
the Heathen. But had the Professors of Idolatry any of 
* Matt. xxiv. 9. & xiii. 21. <f 2 Tim. iii. 12. 


EDITION OF 1758. 53 

these scruples, or did they hold any thing analogous to 
them ? On the contrary, did not the Professors of 
Gaul, of Greece, of Asia, and of Egypt, join heartily 
with the Professors of Rome, to pay all due honours to 
the established religion? while those masters of the 
world as heartily joined communion with these strangers : 
nay, were ready to do the same honours to the Gospel, 
.had they found the same disposition towards mutual ci 
vilities among its followers. 

And was this so trifling a difference as to deserve no 
notice either of the Critic or the Civilian? Had the 
Christians, who damned Paganism in the lump, and 
reprohated the established religion of Rome, as the work 
of evil demons and evil men, no more reason to be appre 
hensive of any severities from this antiquity in its public 
capacity, than the professors of any other religion besides, 
all of which not only acknowledged the Gods of Rome, 
but, to make good weight, added Rome itself to the 
numher of he? Divinities? This public capacitated an 
tiquity must have been of an odd paste, and strangely 
- composed, to use those, who attempted the destruction 
of its Gods, in the same gentle way it treated those who 
revered and honoured them. 

But, as this public capacitated antiquity is, after all, 
no more than a fantom, and owes its nativity to our 
Critic s brain, it is no wonder, it should have something 
of the perversity of its parent ; who, searching for the 
CAUSE of Persecution, could not find it in a circum 
stance in which idolatry and Christianity differed, namely, 
exclusive worship, a, principle most abhorred by pa 
ganism ; and yet can see it in a circumstance where both 
agreed, namely, nocturnal worship, a practice most ve 
nerated by paganism. 

But antiquity (says he) in its public capacity was ge 
nerally very indulgent to all who dissented from tn& 
established worship. This, he had many ways of learning : 
but the cause of the indulgence, if it be yet unknown to 
him, he ^vill owe to the author of The Divine Legation, 
who hath shewn that it was entirely owing to the absur 
dity of its religious systems, just as the want of this in 
dulgence, under Christianity, was occasioned by the 
reasonableness of its system, unreasonably indeed in- 

E 3 forced 


forced upon the mistaken principles of Judaism. So that 
the indulgence of Paganism had continued to this day, 
had not Christianity come boisterously in, and broken 
the peace. Then arose an exception, unfavourable to 
the new Comer : For why was the established religion 
so indulgent to every strange sect, but because every 
stance sect was as indulgent to the established ? So that, 
in this commerce of mutual civilities, while the national 
worship enjoyed the civil rights of an Establishment, it 
was content/ the Stranger should still possess the natural 
rights of a Toleration. But all this good harmony, the 
Christian faith disturbed and violated. It condemned 
paganism in the gross, whether established or tolerated : 
and, under pain of damnation, required all men, both 
Greeks and Barbarisms, to forsake their ancient absur 
dities, and profess their faith in a crucified Saviour. A 
circumstance, sufficient, one would think, without noc 
turnal assemblies, to sour this sweet-tempered Antiquity 
in its public capacity. 

But he goes on Persecution for DIFFERENCE OF 
BELIEF ALONE owes its nativity to more modern ages; 
and Spain was its country, where PrisciUian, by some, is 
held to be thejirst sufferer for mere opinion^ 

Here we have another cast of his office. The question 
between us is, " Whether the Christians were first per- 
" secuted for \he\rjaith in general, or for their noctur- 
" nal assemblies." I hold the former ; he contends for 
the latter : and to confute my opinion, observes u that 
* persecution for DIFFERENCE of belief alone, was of 
" later date, and began with Priscillian :" That is, 
persecution for MODES OF FAITH began at that time. 
Well, and if it did, what then? What is this to the dis 
pute between us? I never held, because Jesus and his 
Apostles never foretold, that the first Christians should 
be persecuted by the Pagans for modes of Faith ; but on 
the contrary, for the very genius oj that Faith, so oppo 
site to the idolatrous world. 

Paganism had- no dogmatic theology, or, what we 
call Religion : and not, having the thing, it was no wonder 
they had not the word : neither the Greeks nor Romans, 
with all their abundance, had a word for that moral 
jtnode : the Latin word Retigio, when it comes nearest 

EDITION OF 1758, 55 

to it, signifies only a set of ceremonies. However, 
though they were without a dogmatic theology, yet they 
had their general principles ; but these principles re 
garded utility rather than truth ; the chief of which was 
that of intercommunity ; which the principle of Chris 
tianity directly opposing, they rose against this principle, 
and so began a persecution. Pagans therefore, having 
no modes of faith, could not persecute for any : but 
Christians, who had, might and did persecute for them. 

Again, when the persecution is for modes of faith, 
their truth or falsehood comes in question : when for the 
common genius of a religion, its harmlessness or malig 
nity is the only matter of inquiry. Now the pagan per 
secutors were so far from regarding Christianity as a 
false religion, that they were ready*, according to their 
general indulgence to all who dissented from the esta 
blished worship, to put the professors of the Faith on a 
footing with other foreign sects : but this would not 
serve their tuun. The Christians believed their Religion 
to be the only true ; and therefore, that it should be the 
only one professed. This PARADOX brought on perse 
cution. But for what? not for the profession of & false 
hood ; but for a practised hatred to the whole race of 

Here then, we find, the learned Critic has shuffled in 
one question for another ; and again put the change 
upon his reader ; and perhaps, upon himself. 

But to let his reasoning pass, and come to his fact ; 
which, as a Critic, he is much more concerned, in 

honour, to support. Priscillian (it seems) was the 

first sufferer for mere opinion. But how shall we recon 
cile him to himself in this matter ? for as he goes on to 
display his learning, he unluckily discovers a much 
earlier original of persecution for mere opinion than that 

* Csecilius, the Pagan, in Minucius Felix, draws the following 
extraordinary character of the genius of the Roman Religion duin 
obsessi, etcitra solum capitolium capti, colunt deos, quos aliusjam 
sprevisset iratos dum captis hostilibus moBnibus, adhuc fero- 
ciente victoria, mimina victa venerantur : dum undique hospites deos 
quaerunt, et suos faciunt : dum aras extruunt etiam ignotis numinibus 
ct manibus. Sic dum universarum gentium sacra suscipmnt, etiam 
regna meruerunt. 

E 4 Of 


of thejirst sufferer? Priscillian : This was in the holy 
wars (as he calls them) of the idolatrous Egyptians 
(p. 583) : which, according to his own account, were 
persecutions for difference of belief alone. Here then 
we stick, between the first, and the first of all , but not 
long. He has a fetch to bring us off. " This holy war 
was indeed persecution in the Egyptians, who dealt and 
felt the blows ; but it was still toleration, and civil policy 
in those, who set them together by the ears : for it was 
a standing maxim with the Romans, to support and en 
courage in the subdued Provinces, a variety in religious 
worship ; which occasioning holy wars, the parties con 
cerned to carry them on with proper decency and zeal . 
had work enough cut out for them, without forming plots 
and conspiracies against their Masters." Thus, although, 
in these tools the Egyptians, the holy war might be per 
secution for opinions, yet in the workmm, who put it 
to use, it was an engine of state. The Egyptian super 
stition (says our learned Civilian) was rather an engine 
of state. Rather than what? than persecution. How 
so, when superstition made them persecute ? No matter 
for that. It was under the direction of their Masters ; 
and in their hands it was an engine of state. It is pity 
that so great a politician as our Chancellor had not still, 
like his predecessors the Chancellors of old, a patent for 
making these engines. We know of One w r ho has long 
lived upon this trade : and an example of his manage 
ment may set our Chancellor s political refinement in a 
true light. The Roman Conclave succeeded to the Roman 
Senate in this engineering work ; and the later holy wars 
m Egypt carried on by their sainted Kings and their 
imperious Saints, were contrived and fomented by the 
Roman Church, as before by the Roman State, to divert 
the subject nations from quarrelling with the sacred See, 
But what then ? If a spirit of Policy projected it, was 
it not a spirit of Superstition that put it in hand ? And 
the point our learned Civilian is debating, though only 
with himself, is the spirit of Pagan Religion, not the 
spirit of Roman Policy. Now surely it is a terrible 
breach in the general indulgence of paganism, even as 
he states it, to find holy wars amongst them for dif- 
+ ference 

EDITION OF 1758. 57 

ference of belief alone ; a species of persecution which, 
in another place, he expressly tells us, owed its nativity 
to modern ages. 

To say the truth. Persecution is one of the wickedest 
imps of Hell, and capable of any mischief: but who 
would have suspected it of this trick, played as it were, in 
its mothers belly; so long before its NATIVITY; and 
while yet it had scarce got a hitman being ? But the ad 
venture was, in all respects, extraordinary ; and well 
deserving the pen of our illustrious Historian. 

Seriously, He seems much better fitted, whether as 
Critic or Civilian, to manage the intrigues of the Greek 
and Roman Alphabets, (whose Revolutions make so 
shining a figure in this splendid Dissertation on the Bac 
chanals) than to develop the policy of Empires, or to 
adjust the rights of civil and religious Societies. 

But it is now time to shew, that his hypothesis has as 
little support from reason as from fact : and that noc 
turnal assemblies neither DID, nor, on our Critic s own 
principles, possibly COULD, give birth to Persecution, 
even though these assemblies had preceded all inter 
ruptions oj the civil power. 

While the common opinion remained undisputed, that 
nocturnal assemblies were held to avoid persecution, all 
men saw a sufficient reason for their practice. But since 
we have been told, that they preceded persecution, and 
were the cause of it, w r e are utterly at a loss to account 
for so extraordinary a mode of worship in the immediate 
followers of Christ. For the original of nocturnal assem 
blies being now, CHOICE, not NECESSITY, they must be 
resolved into one or other of these causes 

1. Either because true Christianity hath mysterious 
rites, proper to be celebrated in the night-time, like the 
pagan Orgies : 

2. Or that the first propagators of the Faith affected 
to imitate the dark and enigmatic genius of Paganism : 

3. Or that their followers were a set of gloomy Fa 
natics, who delighted in the horrors of a midnight 
season : 

4. Or lastly, that, like the BACCHANALS (whose story 
gave birth to this new hypothesis) they had some very de 
bauched and licentious practices to conceal, whose cele 


bration was only adapted to the obscenities of night and 

Now, of all these causes, our learned Critic, as a 
Dispenser of the doctrine, and a Minister of the disci 
pline of the church, can admit only the second. He is 
too well instructed in the nature of the Christian Religion 
to allow \hejirst; and he has too great a regard for the 
honour of its early Professors, to suppose it possible to 
be the third or fourth. 

He must needs conclude, therefore, that the primitive 
Christians went voluntarily into this practice, in imitation 
of the mysterious rites of Paganism. On a presumption 
of the truth of this fact, he must build his hypothesis 
It may be asked (says he) in that almost universal licence 
or toleration, which the Ancients, the Romans parti 
cularly, extended to the professors of all Religions what 
soever, why the Christian profession alone, which might 
have expected a favourable treatment, seems to stand 
exempted, and frequently felt the severity of the bit 
terest persecution ? Having asked this, he very ma 
gisterially solves the riddle : They met (says he) with mo 
lestations from that quarter, BECAUSE their assemblies 
were nocturnal. 

What, now, would be the first reflection of a reader, 
unacquainted with Greece and Rome ? Would he not 
conclude, that nocturnal assemblies for religious worship 
were, till now, unknown in paganism, and regarded us 
a prodigy, to be expiated only by capital punishments ? 
He would never conceive that mysterious and nocturnal 
Rites were the most venerable and sacred part of their 
worship. But when he is told that these Christian As 
semblies were in imitation of the most favourite practices 
ofGentilism, and to conciliate the .world s good will, he 
will be lost in wonder, that a modern Critic should pre 
tend to know better what would appease or irritate the 
Pagans than the primitive Church did, which had the 
best opportunities of distinguishing in these matters, and 
was most concerned not to be mistaken. He will tell our 
Critic, that if he really aims at the solution of what he 
calls a difficulty, he should seek for a cause as un 
common and singular as the effect. The EFFECT, re 
ligious persecution, our Critic himself tells us, was a 


EDITION OF 1758. 59 

thing almost unknown to the pagan world : but the 
CAUSE, nocturnal assemblies, was as common and as ex 
tensive as idolatry itself. 

All the various Religions of Paganism, were ever 
attended with mysterious rites, which (to keep up a ve 
neration for the worship, and to create a sacred horror 
in the Participant) were generally celebrated in the tught. 
But as tiiis afforded opportunities of private enormities, 
as well as of danger to the State, the laws of the best go 
verned countries, such as Greece, required that foreign 
Religions, which celebrated such rites, should have the 
previous licence of the magistrate. Hence we find, that, 
by a Law of the twelve tables (an institute composed 
chiefly from the Grecian laws) clandestine assemblies 
held in the night were punished with death. In course 
of time, as superstition abounded, this law was but little 
observed : for, in the 566th year of Rome, some spu 
rious rites of Bacchus had crept out of Greece, and in 
sinuated themselves into the city ; where being celebrated 
by night, without the knowledge or licence of the Ma 
gistrate, they presently suffered an abominable corrup 
tion *. On discovery, they were abolished ; and fresh 
vigour given to the law of the twelve tables, by a new re 
gulation for celebrating of nocturnal worship. So cau 
tious and tender was the magistrate (even under this 
horrid provocation) of violating the rights of Religion in 
this capital point of mysterious worship : nor did the 
heat of reformation carry him to impinge upon any other 
of the nocturnal Rites, then celebrated in Rome ; such 
as the Mysteries of the Bona Dea. 

Greece and Asia had been long famous for the cele 
bration of this kind of rites : which, Rome, now masters 
of the east, brought home with them ; together with the 
other ARTS of Greece, of which, Cicero-}* reckons these 
of the MYSTERIES in the first class. And thus things 
continued in respect to these rites, throughout the whole 
Roman Empire, down even to the time of Valentinian ; 
who, out of zeal for Christianity, published an edict to 
abolish the most famous of them all, the ELEUSINIAN. 
But he was diverted from his purpose by his prudent 
minister, Praetextatus ; who assured him, that it would 

* See Divine Legation, Book II. Sect. 6. f De Legg. 



drive Greece and Asia to despair, and endanger the 
peace of the Empire *. 

Such was the state and condition of nocturnal assem 
blies in the pagan world : They were of the earliest ori 
ginal ; of the most venerable use ; and practised with 
the fondest attachment. In the very centre, and during 
the full celebrity, of these Rites, the Christian church 
arose : which, if you will believe our Critic, went into 
them with as much spirit and attention as any Gentile 
Community of them all. When, strange to tell ! the 
Genius of Paganism, so indulgent to new forms of Re 
ligion (every one of which had their Mysteries, and 
most of them their nocturnal assemblies) all of a sudden 
turned tail, and fell foul upon this rising Sect, for a cir 
cumstance common to all, and in a time of full peace 
and security. 

What could occasion so unexpected a reception ? Was 
it any disgust the PEOPLE had entertained to this Chris 
tian rite ? (for, indeed, on their passions, the Magistrate 
is generally obliged to square his administration). This 
could not be ; for the People (every where the same) 
are rarely offended, in religious matters, but with no 
velties. What is of common use they receive with in 
difference; often with a favourable prejudice. Our 
Critic confounds the nature and order of things, to 
make Paganism passive and unprovoked at a Principle 
which subverted the whole system of their religion, 
namely, the UNSOCIABILITY of the Christian Faith; 
and yet mortally offended with a practice the most sa 
cred and universal in Paganism, namely, MYSTERIOUS 


But it will be said, " Some jealousy entertained of 
this way of worship, by the MAGISTRATE, might occa 
sion that fiery inquisition: Nocturnal assemblies had 
been abused, and therefore it became him to be very 
attentive to every new institution of the like kind. * 
Here our Critic will appeal to his Bacchanalian rites : 
and, indeed, it seems to have been this detestable Mum 
mery which first put the fancy into his head. But this 
abuse was a single, temporary thing, and had been long 
forgotten. Nocturnal assemblies had since that time 
* Zotim. 1. iv, 


EDITION OF 1758. 61 

been practised, for many ages, without jealousy. Cicero, 
indeed, in an ideal Utopia *, had declared against them : 
but he brings them in, apparently for no other purpose 
than to stigmatize his mortal enemy Clodius. And, 
what is remarkable, he gives not the least intimation 
that the abuses of nocturnal assemblies had ever been so 
general as to keep alive the attention or jealousy of the 
Magistrate : Particulars had now and then perverted 
them to the gratification of their lusts ; and for this (for 
want of better evidence) he appeals to the comic poets 
of Greece, where indeed some of the Mysteries appear 
to have undergone a shameful corruption. 

However, let us suppose the state of Home to be as 
delicate on this point as our Critic s hypothesis requires 
it to be : Their circumspection could never go further 
than to regulate or to reform these Assemblies : it could 
never proceed to the suppression or abolition of them, 
because nocturnal meetings made an essential part of 
their own worship. 

It is probable, indeed, that those ridiculous calumnies 
of the Vulgar, concerning the immoralities committed 
in the nocturnal assemblies of the Christians, might 
reach the ears of the Magistrate : But if he attended to 
them, would he not begin his inquiry by examining into 
the truth of them, as he had done in the case of the 
Bacchanalian rites? and when he found them as inno 
cent as Pliny the Younger, on a like examination, re 
ports them to have been, would not the search have 
ended here; and a share of that universal toleration, 
which he afforded to others, been imparted to them 
likewise ? 

Our Critic may perhaps say, that these Christians 
were such lovers of a secret, that they would not reveal 
the nature of their rites to the Pagan Magistrate, though 
it were to entitle them to his protection, Should he say 
this, he would forget the principles I have now forced 
him to go upon, which will allow no other reason of 
the first Christians falling into this practice, than to con 
ciliate the good will of their Pagan neighbours. 

Well, but " there might be some idolatrous Test re 
quired to qualify the Church for its share in this toleration 
* De Legg, 



of nocturnal worship ; an:!, for non-compliance with 
the condition (he may tell us) the persecution began." 
It is, indeed, likely enough that such a Test was re 
quired ; and most probably it consisted in their appro 
bation of the principle of intercommunity ; if not in 
words, yet at least in deeds ; such as throwing a grain 
or two of incense on the Pagan altars. But then the 
mischief of this evasion is, that it brings us round again 
to the place from whence the learned Critic set out, when 
he turned his back upon the reason given in The Divine 
Legation for toleration, and would needs seek a better 
in nocturnal assemblies. 

Hitherto we cannot conceive how a persecution could 
so much as b .ghi^ from the cause our Critic has as 
signed. But let us, for argument s sake, suppose, that 
the Magistrate, out of mere caprice (for we have shewn 
he could have no reason) and in the plenitude of his 
power, would forbid the Christians their nocturnal as 
semblies, while he allowed the privilege to all besides : 
Even in this case, his persecution must end almost as 
soon as it was begun: it is impossible, on our Critic s 
own principles, that it should have any continuance : 
for, as the choice of nocturnal assemblies was only to 
reconcile Paganism to Christianity, when they found 
their neighbours receive these advances so ungraciously, 
they would soon remove the occasion of offence; in 
which they would be quickened by their knowledge of 
the rights of the Sovereign, to whom, in things indif 
ferent, they had been told, all obedience was due. 

Thus the matter being turned on all sides, we find 
that NO persecution whatever could follow from that 
cause, which our learned Civilian has assigned for the 
whole TEN. 

But it being certain, that persecuted they were ; and 
as certain, that our Civilian will admit of no other cause 
than what he himself has given, namely, their nocturnal 
assemblies: Let us for once suppose him to be in the 
right; and then consider the consequences which will 
arise from it. When we have done this, we shall have 
done his System full justice; and the reader, with suf 
ficient knowledge of the case, may take or reject-it as h 
finds himself inclined. 


EDITION OF 1758. 63 

HYPOTHESES are often very plausible, and much 
oftener very flattering things. You shall have of these, 
so fair and promising, that an honest reader shall be 
tempted to wish them, and, from wishing, to think 
them, true. But this, before us, is by no means in the 
number of those specious visions. 

I seriously believe it would be doing our Chancellor 
great injustice to suppose he had any other view in this 
notable discovery than to do honour to the Christian 
name: much less should we suspect that he had any 
formed design of traducing it. Yet it is very certain, 
that neither COLLINS nor TINDAL could have formed a 
project more injurious to the reputation of primitive 
Christianity, than to prove, what is the aim of this 

NIGHT-TIME. For it inevitably follows, that these early 
professors of the Faith were either wild FANATICS or 
abandoned LIBERTINES: and consequently, that the 
Pagan Magistrate did but his duty in inforcing, what 
the Church had been so long accustomed to call, a cruel 
and unjust persecution. 

Before the conception of this new fancy, it was uni 
versally supposed, that the primitive Christians assembled 
in the night-time, to avoid the interruptions of the civil 
power. This our Critic assures us is a mistake. It is 
NOT TRUE (says he); but the converse of the proposition 
is true IN THE UTMOST LATITUDE, viz. that they met 
with molestation from the civil power BECAUSE their as 
semblies were nocturnal. 

While the common opinion prevailed, these nocturnal 
assemblies, recorded in ancient church- history, gave as 
little scandal to the Pagans of our times, as indeed they 
did to the Pagans of their own. But when this opinion 
is given up for the sake of its CONVERSE, we shall be 
utterly at a loss to account, to our irreligious Inquisi 
tors, for so extraordinary a CHOICE in the immediate 
followers of Christ. 

It hath been shewn above, that these voluntary As 
semblies could be occasioned only by one or other of 
these causes either that the Christian religion hath 
like the Pagan, which required nocturnal 



celebrations or that the first preachers of Christianity 
affected to imitate the practices of Paganism or that 
they were Fanatics, and delighted in the horrors of a 
midnight season or lastly, that, like the debauched 
Bacchanals, they had some very licentious Rites to be 
performed only in the dark. 

Our Critic s religious principles will not allow him to 
admit of any of these causes but the second. And I 
have shewn that, from the second, no persecution could 
arise, or, at least, could continue. This, on a suppo 
sition that the Christians affected to imitate pagan ob 
servances. But it is a supposition which contradicts 
fact, and violates the nature of things. The history of 
the infant-church informs us, that the first Propagators 
of the Faith were most averse to every thing which bore 
a shew of conformity to Paganism. They could not but 
be so, for their Religion rose out of Judaism, which 
breathes nothing but opposition to Idolatry. 

In course of time, indeed, when pious zeal, by grow 
ing overheated, became less pure ; when love of pomp 
and show ( v vhich is natural to men busied in the external 
offices of Religion), and the affectation of importance 
(which is as natural to those who preside in them), had 
spread their leprosy through the Church, the Ministers 
of the Gospel would be fatally tempted to rival the mag 
nificence, and to ape the mysterious air of Paganism. 
And the obliquities, which led them into these follies, 
they would strive to palliate or disguise by a pretended 
impatience for the speedier extension of the Faith. I 
have shewn, from Casaubon, how this corrupt conduct 
infected all the language of Theology *. But this was 
some ages after the times in question. 

Our Critic may perhaps tell us, it was accident or 
whim which drew together the first Christians into dark 
corners ; and as the evening and the morning made the 
jirst day of the old Creation, so it was to make thejirst 
day of the new : And thus Night, by her proper Usher, 
Chance* became once again reinstated in her ancient 

But this will stand him in small stead. He has not 
only to account for the first threatenings of Persecution, 

* Div. Leg. Vol. I. pp. 69. & 352. 


EDITION OF 1758. 65 

but for the t \CT ; and, what is still more, for the continu 
ance of it. Now, \vhatthe Christians fell into with so little 
reason, they would certainly forsake on the appearance 
of so great, as the displeasure of the Magistrate, and the 
crime and danger of disobeying lawful Authority. It is 
possible, indeed, that, in the heat of Persecution, some 
over zealous men might mistake their noncompliance with 
such commands as a necessary mark of their open pro 
fession of the Faith. But this was not generally the case; 
Their common practice was to give to Cetsar the things 
which were Ceesars ; and to God, the things which 
were God s : Of this, we have sufficient evidence in the 
famous letter of Pliny the younger, before quoted. 
Trajan had forbidden the assemblies called Het eerier, 
which succeeded those of public worship, and were used 
by the Christians of Bithynia, to confirm and bind them 
to one another in the practice of virtue, by the external 
badge or ceremony of breaking bread] and we are as 
sured by this vigilant Magistrate, that the Christians, 
under his jurisdiction obeyed the imperial Edict *. 

From all this Letter it appears, that the only causes, 
which, on our Critic s principles, could possibly bring 
on and continue persecution (if persecution arose from 
nocturnal or clandestine assemblies), must be either FA 
case, their obstinacy would make them persist ; in the 
other, their libertinage. To these agreeable conclusions, 
have our learned Civilian s principles reduced us for a 
solution of our difficulties : and such is the flattering pic 
ture, he has exhibited of primitive Christianity. Could 
its most inveterate enemies desire more ! or, if its 
friends should give credit to these fancies, would its 
enemies be content with less? Such are the disgraces 
which this converse proposition is. ready to bring upon 
Christianity ; disgraces of so complicated a stain, as not 
simply to dishonour our holy Faith, but even to justify the 
Bovvers of Paganism in all the violences they offered to it. 

* quod essent soliti stato die ante liicem convenire, carmenqufc 
Christo, quasi Deo, dicere, &c. quibus peractis morem sibi disce- 
dendi fuisse, rursusque coeundi ad capiendum cibum, promiscuum 
tamcn & innoxium : quod ip-sum lac ere desiisse post e die turn me urn, 
quo secundum rnandata tua hetcerias esse vetderam, Lib. x, Ep. 97. 

VOL. IV. F For 


For the Magistrate had a right to suppress the clandes 
tine meetings of Fanaticism and Debauchery. 

But our Enemies will have no need to fly to conse 
quences for the discharge of the pagan Magistrates ; our 
Christian Chancellor himself proceeds directly to their 
acquittal. He frankly tells us, that their duty, as Ma 
gistrates, required them to animadvert on nocturnal as 
semblies, where they bound themselves to one another, 
and employed the word SAC HAM KNTUM for a kind of 
tessera of union ; the very appearance of guilt which 
had occasioned the decree against the infamous rites of 

You will say, this is horrid, to make the Magistrate 
prosecute the primitive Christians by the same provision 
which obliged him to exterminate those monsters of so 
ciety ! But who can help it? Our Chancellor had but 
this one precedent for the prosecution of nocturnal as 
semblies ; and if it he not the most .honourable support 
of his hypothesis, it is not his fault. 

But {here was no proof (you will say) against the 
Christian, as there was against those Bacchanalian as 
semblies. What of that? Our Chancellor opines, that 
mere suspicion, in so delicate an affair, was sufficient to 
acquit the Magistrate of blame : nay, to make his con 
duct, in liis care and jealousy for the State, very com 
mendable. You shall have iiis own words. A jealous 
Governor therefore, and a stranger to the true prin 
ciples f>f Christianity ) was naturally open to such impres 
sions ; and COULD NOT BUT exert that caution and 
attention which the practice of their Country so warmly 
recommended, p. 579. Could Cicero himself have been 
more warm, not to say more eloquent, in defending the 
Decree which dispersed the profligate crew of Bac 
chanals ? 

And now a very capital point of Ecclesiastical history 
is cleared up and settled. " The Ten Persecutions 
were begun and carried on, not, as had been hitherto 
supposed, upon the score of Religion, or mere opinion, 
but against bad Subjects, or, at least against those who 
were reasonably suspected of being such." And this is 
S,iven to us by the learned Critic as the true defence of 
ireeand generous Antiquity, ix ITS PUBLIC CAPACITY; 


EDITION or 1758. 67 

just as in free Britain (where, indeed, we now find 
small difference, as to freedom, between its public and its 
private capacity, except to the advantage of the latter), 
when Papists complain of the penal laws, we reply, 
They are not inforced against erroneous Religionists, 
but against refractory Subjects, for refusing the Ma 
gistrate the common security for obedience. There is 
indeed a difference ; our answer to the Papists is a se 
rious truth ; and our Critic s apology for the pagan Per 
secutors, an idle and ridiculous fiction. 

But as if he had not yet done enough for his beloved 
Antiquity, in thus blanching its TENT PERSECUTIONS: 
he goes on to clear it from the opprobrium of persecution 
in general ; by charging the original of this diabolic prac 
tice on the Christian Church ; where, indeed, the Free 
thinkers had very confidently placed it, till the Author 
of The Divine Legation restored it to its right owner, 
the Pagan Magistrate. PERSECUTION FOR DIFFER 
ENCE OF BELIEF ALONE (says our learned Civilian) 


Spain was its country ; where PrisciU uin, by some, is 
held to be thejirxt suj/erer for MERE OPINION". 

Thus the whole blame of PERSECUTION for Religion 
is thrown from the Gentile Persecutors, upon the suf 
fering Church : And Christianity, or for its follies or its 
crimes (as either insulting civil Society by its obstinacy, 
or polluting it by its vices), stands covered with confu 
sion. So happy an advocate has our learned Civilian 
approved himself for the Cause to which, by a double 
tie, he had devoted and engaged his ministry. 

The length of these animadversions hindered them 
from finding a place in tbe body of this volume, amongst 
other things of the like sort. Except for this, he had 
no claim to be distinguished from his fellows. I had a 
large choice before me : for who has not signalized him 
self against the DIVINE LEGATION ? Bigots, Hutchin- 
sonians, Methodists, Answerers, Freethinkers, and 
Fanatics, have in their turns been all up in arms against 
it. Quid dicam ? (to use the words of an honest man 
in the same circumstances} Commune fere hoc eorum 
fatum est, quorum opera supremum Numen uti vult in 
Ecclcsia, ut MATUKE insldiis^ uccusatiwiibus et crimi- 

y a natlonlbn* 


nativmbus appetantur. The scene was opened by a false 
Zealot, and at present seems likely to be closed by a 
true Behmenist*. A natural and easy progress, from 
knavery to madness, where the Imposture fails : as the 
progress is from madness to knavery, where it succeeds. 
It was now time to settle my accounts with them. To 
this end I applied to a learned person, who, in consi 
deration of our friendship, hath been prevailed upon to 
undergo the drudgery of turning over this dirty heap, 
and marking what he imagined would in the least de 
serve, or could justify any notice : for I would not have 
the reader conceive so miserably of me as to think I was 
ever disposed to look into them myself. lie will find, 
as he goes along, both in the text and the notes, what 
was thought least unworthy of an answer. Nor let it 
give him too much scandal that, in a work which I have 
now put into as good a condition for him as I w*as able, 
I have revived the memory of the numerous and gross 
absurdities of these writers, part of whom are dead, and 
the rest forgotten : For he will consider, that it may 
prove an useful barrier to the return of the like follies, 
in after-times, against more successful Inquirers into 
Truth. The seeds of Folly, as well as Wit, are con 
nate with the mind : and when, at any time, the teem 
ing intellect gives promise of an unexpected harvest, the 
trash starts up with it, and is ever forward to wind it 
self about rising Truth, and hinder its progress to matu 
rity. Were it not for this, I should refer the candid 
reader to what I take to be the best defence and sup 

the succinct view of the whole and of all its parts, which 
he will find at the conclusion of the last of these Vo 
lumes j* . For, as Lord Verulam says excellently well, 


* Rev. Mr. William Law. 
Vol. VI. of this Edit. 






THE foregoing Volume * hath occasionally, and in the 
course of my main argument, shewn the reader, 
that it was always the practice of mankind to listen to, 
and embrace some pretended REVELATION; in neglect 
of what is called, in contradistinction to it, the RELI 
GION OF NATURE; that, I mean, which is only founded 
on our relation to the first Cause ; and deducible from 
the eternal reason of things -f-. 

If ever a general propensity might he called a dictate 
of Nature, this surely may. That such a propensity 
there is, the Deist, or pretended follower of natural 
Religion, freely confesseth, nay, is forward to insist 
upon, as a circumstance of discredit to those Revela 
tions, which we receive for true. Yet surely, of all his 
visionary advantages, none ever afforded him less cause 
of triumph ; a consequence flowing from it, which is en 
tirely subversive of his whole scheme. 

For let me ask such a one, What could be the cause 

* Books I. II. III. 

rare tsa,avt \oywn > votfct v^i), (pvcw.ous svvoa*? 
/A>J> i^ TV) Vgoatgfcij TVJ xara Aoyo* sx^ ^ /jvlo. Euseb. Prtep. Evaug. 

1. ii. c. C. Edit, bteph, pp. 45, 46. 

F3 of 


of so universal & propensity in all ages, places, and peo 
ple? But before he answer, let him sec that he be able 
to distinguish between the causes which the Few had in 
giving, and the Many in receiving, pretended Revela 
tions. The causes for projecting and giving are explained 
at large in the former volume ; where it is shewn, that 
all the pretended Revelations, but real corruptions of 
religion, came from Princes and Lawgivers. It is true, 
he hath been taught otherwise. His instructors, the 
Tolands and Tindals of the time, assure him, that all 
came from the PRIESTS; and I suppose they spoke 
what they believed : It might be so, for any thing they 

My question then is, What could induce Mankind to 
embrace these offered Revelations, unless it were, 

J. Either a CONSCIOUSNESS, that they wanted a re- 
veaied Will for the rule of their actions; or, 

2. An old TRADITION, that God had vouchsafed it to 

their forefathers? 

One can hardly conceive anything else; for a general 
effect must have as general a cause : which, in this 
case, is only to be found in the nature of man ; or in a 
tradition preserved in the whole race. Prince-craft or 
priest-craft might indeed offer them, for their own pri 
vate ends : but nothing short of a common inducement 
could dispose mankind to accept them. 

i . As to the consciousness of the want of a Revela 
tion, that may fairly be inferred from the miserable 
blindness of our condition : And he who wants to be 
informed of this, should consult Antiquity; or, what 
may be more for his ease, those modern writers, who, 
for no very good ends, but yet to a very good issue, 
have drawn such lively pictures of it, from thence. But 
without going even so far, he may find, in the very dis 
position to receive such absurd schemes of religion as 
Revelations from heaven, more than a thousand other 
arguments to prove men ignorant of the first principles 
of natural religion ; a very moderate knowledge of which 
would have certainly detected the imposture of those 
pretences. But now, men so totally at a loss for a rule 
of life, would greedily embrace any direction that came 
with pretended credentials from heaven. 



If we turn to the Few, the wise and learned amongst 
them, we shall find the case still more desperate. In 
religious matters, these were blinder even than the 
People; and in proportion too, as they were less 
conscious of their ignorance. The most advanced in 
the knowledge of human nature and its dependencies, 
were, without question, the ancient Sages of Greece, 
Of these, the widest, and far the wisest, was SOCRATES; : 
for he saw and confessed his ignorance, and deplored ^ 
the want of a superior direction. For the rest, who 
thought themselves wise, and appeared not so sensibly 
to feel their wants, , we have shewn at large *, how they 
became Fools; and, debauched by false science, affected 
the language of Gods before they had well emancipated 
themselves from the condition of brutes f. The two 
great supports of natural religion, in the world at large, 
are the belief of a FUTURE STATE, and the knowledge 
of MORAL OBLIGATION. The first was rejected by all; 
and the true ground of the second was understood by 
none : The honour of this discovery was reserved for 
Revelation, which teacheth us, in spite of unwilling 
hearers, that the real ground of moral obligation is the 
will of God. 

2. There only remains that other possible cause, the 
general tradition of God s early rer elation of his will to 
mankind, as delivered in Scripture. I, for my part, 
suppose both concerned in the effect ; and that that state 
of mind which disposed men to so ready and general a. 
reception of these numerous impostures, was the result 
of the consciousness of their wants, joined to the preju 
dice of Tradition. If the Deist allow Tradition, he 
gives up the question ; if he acknowledge our wants, he 
affords a strong presumption, in favour of Revelation. 

For if man (let the cause proceed from what it 
will) be so irrecoverably blind and helpless, it is highly 
reasonable to think that Infinite Goodness would lead 
and enlighten him by an extraordinary revelation of 
his will. 

But here, Tindal objects, " That this blindness is 

* Book iii. 2, 3, 4, & 5, 

t The Stoics, who thought the soul mortal, yet reckoned their 
wise man equal, or superior, to the gods. 

F 4 men s 


men s own fault, who, instead of improving their rea 
son, and following its dictates, which would lead them 
into all truth (our own Scriptures assuring us, that that 
which may be known of God is manifest in them , for 
God hath shewed it unto them*\ go on like beasts, and 
follow one another as they are led or driven." 

To this I answer, that what had been the lot of man 
from the beginning of the world to the birth of CHRIST, 
was like to continue so to the end of it. A deviation 
springing from no partial cause of climate, government, 
or age ; but the sad effect of human weakness in the cir 
cumstance of our earthly situation. - By the fault of 
man, it is true ; but such a fault as, it is seen by long 
experience, man could never remedy. He therefore 
flies to Heaven for relief; and seems to have reason for 
his confidence. 

But to this, our man of morals has a reply at hand ; 
" That if such be our condition, it may indeed want re 
dress ; but then, a Revelation will not render the cure 
lasting." And for this he appeals to the corrupt state 
of the Christian world ; which, in his opinion, seems to 
demand a new Revelation, to restore the virtue and effi 
cacy of the old. 

But let me tell this vain Rationalist, There is an ex 
treme difference between the corruption of the Pagan 
and the Christian world. In the Pagan, where false 
Revelations had given men wrong ideas of the attributes 
of the Deity, they must of course, and did in fact, act 
viciously UPON PRINCIPLE |; a condition of blindness 

* Rom. i. 19, 20. 

\ See Div. Leg. book ii. 5. -- Tr ; v <pv<rm S^las x) l 

tvvoiuv (fivcrw.&Jq ccvToTg Ivt/Trap^ao-av, i(p $ 

o ex.pct crvvzi^v otVTas (pgevuv 

TOK SEo^oyJtyes j cts 7roXoyt^Ea6at //j5 spyfi^nxv ITT* ToTg 
(>j^to^uvot, TO. ttdvitx. $1 raj an5p ^ice, T&<; <C7ag 
u>tptht ia<;, vt *^ o^a, Ta? TOTS ttjfurov (rvvirctfAsyat; $v- 
Utf TE Kg rvfavv i$a.<: a,7ro^av[^oi^e.n. vopuv ywv, WCTTTE^ t<priV t 
Iv <x,y$(>u>7roit;, [/.yc?" ttn 

^ Tra,^ct,i/of/.ei; y&[Att$ 9 /jucutpovlciq TI Xg ^alpoxlovia?, TW.VUV T x^ 
facri{ tffS 7rpat[^Bva.q lv\u<; TOK olxf{o 
^xaXav, ucrmc iv JUE^EI x.cclvp$V[/.oiTv x^ t^vfyot- 

tx.7Tip.VYi pM svov, rw TVTUV gWJAWf 

o/Is?. Euseb. Procp, Evang. 1. ii. c. 6. Edit. Steph. p. 46. 



which seemed to call out on God s goodness for a re 
medy : but in the Christian world, for the very contrary 
reason, all wicked men act ill AGAINST PRINCIPLE; a 
condition of perverseness which seems to call out for 
nothing but his justice : God, according to the state of 
the case, having done every thing that man, with all 
his presumption, can pretend to expect from the good 
ness of his Maker. 

So far on the Deist s own principles ; on his own false 
notion that God s Revelation is represented in Scripture 
to be merely a republication of the religion of nature. 
For, as such he has presumed to comment on it ; and 
as such, in excess of complaisance, we believers have 
generally thought fit to receive it. But I shall, ere 
long, shew it to be a very different thing: and, from 
its true nature, prove not only (as here) the use of Re 
velation, but likewise the absolute necessity of it, to 
mankind. I shall shew that what our adversaries sup 
pose the only, was but the secondary end of the two 
Revelations; that what was primary and peculiar to 
them, as Revelations, was of such a nature as the ut 
most perversity of man could not, in any degree, defeat ; 
of such a nature as manifests there must needs be these 
Revelations : and that to expect more, or further, would 
not only be unreasonable, but absurd*. 

At present, to go on with the Deist in his own way. 
From what Lath been said, we see a strong presump 
tion, that God hath indeed communicated ^his will to 
mankind in that extraordinary way we call REVELATION. 

And now, that amazing number of false religions, 
under paganism, begins to appear less formidable and 
injurious to the true. It was on a presumption they 
would prove so, that, in a foregoing volume, they 
were drawn out in review, with each its false Prophet 
at its head-f. And here at last they are employed, 
wicked instruments as they were, and wickedly as they 
have been abused in dishonouring truth, to evince the 
high probability of God s having actually given a revela 
tion of his will to mankind. 

* See book ix. and, in the mean time, Sermons on the Principles 
of Natural and Revealed Religion, Serm. v. vol. i*. 
f Sec book ii. 2. 


If,- therefore, there be such a tiling as true revelation., 

our highest interests will engage us in the search of it : 

and we shall want no encouragement to proceed, be- 

i cause it must needs have some characteristic mark to 

I distinguish it from the false. And this mark must be 

our guide. 

Now if \\c look round the ancient world, and take a 
\iew of the numerous religions of paganism, we shall 
find (notwithstanding all pretended to be original, and 
all were actually independent) so perfect a harmony in 
their genius, and conformity in their ministrations, as 
to the object, subject, and end of religious worship*, 
that we must needs conclude them to be all false, or all 
true. All true they could not be, because they contra 
dicted one another, in matters of practice and specula 
tion, professed to be revealed. 

But amongst this prodigious number of pretended 

revelations, we find ON E, in an obscure corner of the 

1 globe, inhabited by a single family, so fundamentally 

opposite to all the other institutions of mankind, as 

would tempt us to conclude we have here found what 

tve search after. 

The many particulars in which this religion differed 
from all others, will be occasionally explained as we go 
along. For, as our subject forced us, in the former vo 
lume, to draw into view those marks of agreement which 
the false had with true revelation; so the same subject 
brings us now to the more pleasing task of shewing 
wherein the true differed from the false. To our pre 
sent purpose it will be sufficient to take notice only of 
that primary and capital mark of distinction, which dif 
ferenced JUDAISM from all the rest; and this was its 

I. Not one of all that numerous rabble of revelations, 
ever pretended to come from the FIRST CAUSE j, or 
taught the worship of the one God in their PUBLIC mi 
nistrations J. So true is that which Eusebius observes 

*-Sre Dtv. Leg. book ii. i, 2, 5, 6. & book Hi, 4. 

f Ibid, book ii. 2. 

I ee note [A] at the end of this Book. 



from Scripture, that " for the Hebrew people alone was 
" reserved the honour of being initiated into the know- 
<c ledge of God the Creator of all things, and of being 
" instructed in the practice of true piety towards him *." 
I said, in their public ministrations, for we have seen it 
was taught in their mysteries to a few ; and to their mys 
teries, it is remarkable, the learned Father alludes ; who 
opposeth the case of the Hebrews, to the Pagans f ; 
where a small and select number only was initiated into 
the knowledge of the Creator ; but in Judea, a whole 

II. That the Hebrews were as singular, in condemning 
all other religions of imposture, as in publicly wor 
shipping one God, the Creator, hath been shewn in the 
former volume. 

There is nothing more surprising in all Pagan Anti 
quity, than that, amidst their endless Revelations, not 
one "of them should ever pretend to come from the FIRST 
CAUSE of all things ; or should condemn the rest of 
falsehood : And yet there is nothing which modern writers 
arc more accustomed to pass over without reflection. But 
the ancient Fathers, who were more intimately acquainted 
with the state of paganism, seem to have regarded it 
with the attention that so extraordinary a circumstance 
deserves : and I apprehend, it was no other than the 
difficulty of accounting for it, which made them recur 
so generally, as they do, to the agency of the DEVIL : for 
I must beg leave to assure certain modern rectifiers of 
prejudices, that the Fathers are not commonly led away 
by a vain superstition ; as they affect to represent them : 
so that when these venerable writers unanimously con 
curred in thinking, that the devil had a great share in 
the introduction and support of pagan revelation, I ima 
gine they were led to this conclusion from such like consi 
derations as these, - That had these impostures been 
the sole agency of men, it is inconceivable that no one 
false prophet, no one speculative philosopher, of all those 
who regulated states, were well acquainted with the first 
Cause, and affected singularities and refinement, should 
ever have pretended to receive his Revelations from the 

See note [B] at the end of this Book. 
Sec Div. Leg. \Q\ ii. pp. 34. 343. 



only true God; or have accused the rest of falsehood : A 
thing so very natural for some or other of them to have 
done, were it but to advance their own religion, in point 
of truth or origin, above the rest. On the contrary, so 
averse were they to any thing of this management, that 
those who pretended to inspirations even from JUPITER, 
never considered him, as lie was often considered by 
particulars, in the sense of the Creator of all things ; 
but as the local tutelar Jupiter, of Crete, for instance, 
or Libya. Again, those who pretended to the best 
system of religion, meant not the best simply ; but the 
best for their own peculiar community *. This, if a su 
pernatural agency be excluded, seemed utterly unac 
countable. But admitting the Devil to his share, a very 
ood reason might be assigned : for it is certain, the suf- 
ienng his agents to pretend inspiration from the first 
Cause would have greatly endangered idolatry ; and 
the suffering any of them to condemn the rest of false 
hood, would (by setting men upon enquiry and exami 
nation) have soon put a stop to the unbounded progress 
of it. 

Thus, I suppose, the Fathers reasoned : and I be- 
iieve our Freethinkers, with all their logic, would find it 
somewhat difficult to shew that they reasoned ill. 

But as we have made it our business, all along, to 
enquire into the NATURAL causes of paganism, in all 
its amazing appearances, we shall go on, in the same 
way, to see what may be assigned for this most amazing 
of all. 

i. First then, the FALSE PROPHET and POLITICIAN, 
ivho formerly cheated under one and the same person -j, 
found it necessary, in his character of Prophet, to pre 
tend inspiration from the God most reverenced by the 
people ; and this God was generally one of their dead 
ancestors, or citizens, whose services to the community 
had procured him divine honours + ; and who was, of 
course, a local tutelary Deity. In his character of Po 
litician, he thought it of importance to have the national 
worship paid to the Founder of the Society, or to the 
father of the Tribe : for a God, who had them in pe 
culiar, suited the gross conceptions of the people much 

* See Div. Leg. book ii. 6, f Id* l b - 2. J ibid. i. 



better than a common Deity at large. But this practice 
gave birth to two principles, which prevented any opening 
for a pretended intercourse with the one God, the Creator. 
1. The first was, an opinion of their DIVINES, that the 
supreme God did not immediately concern himself with 
the government of the world, but left it to local tutelary 
deities, his vicegerents *. 2. The second, an opinion 
of their LAWGIVERS, that it would be of fatal conse 
quence to Society, to discover the first Cause of all things 
to the people )*. 

2. But secondly, that which one would imagine should 
have brought the one God, the Creator, to the know 
ledge of the world, in some public Institution of religion, 
namely, his being taught to so many in the Mysteries, 
and particularly to all who pretended to revelation and 
lawgiviHg I", was the very thing that kept him unknown ; 
because all who came to the knowledge of him this way, 
had it communicated to them under the most religious, 
seal of secresy. 

3. Now, while the first Cause of all things was re 
jected or unknown, and nothing professed in the public 
worship but local tutelary Deities, each of which had 
his own appointment, and little concerned himself in that 
of another s, no one religion could accuse the other of 
falsehood, because they all stood upon the same foun 

How far this may account, in a natural way, for the 
matter in question, is submitted to the judgment of the 

Here then we rest. An essential difference between 
the JEWISH and all other religions is now found : the 
very mark we wanted, to discriminate the true from the 

As for any marks of resemblance in matters circum 
stantial, this will give us no manner of concern. The 
shame of this allegation must lie with the Deist, who cnh, 
in conscience, bring it into account, for tFe equal false 
hood of them both ; seeing, were the Jewish (as we pre 
tend) true, and the Pagan false, that very resemblance 
must still remain. For "what, I pray, is a false religion, 
but the counterfeit of a true ? And what is it to counter- 

* Biv. Lej. book ii. i. f Ibid. 4, j Ibid. 



feit, but to assume the likeness of the thing usurped t 
In good earnest, an Impostor, without one single fea 
ture of truth, would be a rarity even amongst monsters. 


BUT the business of this Work is not probability but 
DEMONSTRATION. This, therefore, only by the way, and 
to lead us the more easily into the main road of our en 
quiry : for the reader now sees we are pursuing no 
desperate adventure, while we endeavour to deduce the 
divinity of MOSES S Law, from the circumstances of the 
Law itself. 

I go on with my proposed demonstration. 

Having proved in the foregoing volume the first and 

second propositions That the inculcating the doc- 

trine of a future state of rewards and punishments is 
necessary to the well-being of civil Society ; and, That 
all mankind, especially the most wise and learned nations 
of antiquity > have concurred in believing and teaching 
that this doctrine was of such use to ciwt Society : 
I come, in this, to the third, 



Now as, in support of the two first Propositions, I 
was forced to make my way through the long chicane of 
Atheism and Freethinking ; so in defence of the third, I 
shall have the much harder fortune of finding Adversaries 
in the quarter of our Friends : for it hath happened un 
luckily, that mistaken conceptions of the JEWISH and of 
the CHRISTIAN Dispensations, have made some advo 
cates of Revelation always unwilling to confess the truth 
which I here endeavour to establish ; and a late revived 
despicable whimsy concerning the sadducism of the He 
brews, Hath now violently inclined them to oppose it. 

A man less fond of TRUTH, and equally attached to 
RELIGION, would have here stopt short, and ventured 
no further in a road where he must so frequently suffer 



the displeasure of forsaking those he most agrees with; 
and the much greater mortification of appearing to go 
along with those he most di tiers from. I have often asked 
myself, What I had to do, to invent new arguments for 
.Religion, when the old ones had outlived so many ge 
nerations of this mortal race of infidels and freethinkers? 
Why I did not rather chuse the high road of literary 
honours, and pick out some poor critic or small philo 
sopher of this school, to offer up at the shrine of violated 
sense and virtue ? Things that might be exposed to 
their deserved contempt on any principles.; or indeed 
without any : I might then have flourished in the favour 
of my superiors, and the good-will of all my brethren. 
But the love of TRUTH breaks all my measures : Im- 
periosa trahit veritax ; and I am once more borne away 
in the deep and troubled torrent of Antiquity. 

These various prejudices above mentioned oblige me 
therefore to prove the third Proposition, in the same 
circumstantial manner I proved the first and second : 
and this will require a previous explanation of the MO 

But to form a right idea of that Institution, it will 
be necessary to know the genius and manners of the 
HEBREW PEOPLE; though it be, as v/e conceive, of 
divine appointment : and still more necessary to under 
stand the character and abilities of their LAWGIVER, if 
it be, as our adversaries pretend, only of human. 

Now as the Hebrews, on receiving their LAW, were 
but just come from a strange country, the land of EGYPT; 
where the people had been held" in slavery and op 
pression ; and their Leader bred at court, and instructed 
in all the learning of their colleges ; it could not but be, 
that the genius and manners of both would receive a high 
tincture from those with whom they had so long, and In 
such different stations, conversed: And in feet, holy 
Scripture assures us, that MOSES was conversant In all ; 
the wisdom, and the ISRAELITES besotted with alt the 
whoredoms or idolatries^ of Egypt. 

It will be of importance therefore to know the state of 
SUPERSTITION and LEARNING in Egypt during these 
early ages. 

This, as it is a necessary, so one would think, should 



be no difficult enquiry ; for it is natural to suppose, that 
the same Scripture which tells us, that the Lawgiver and 
his people brought their wisdom and superstitions from 
Egypt, would tell us also what that wisdom and what 
those superstitions were. And so indeed it does ; as 
will be seen in due time : Yet, by ill fortune, the fact 
stands, at present, so precarious, as to need much pains, 
and many words, to make it owned. Divines, it is 
confessed, seem to allow the testimony of Stephen and 
Ezekiel, who, under the very impulse of inspiration, say 
that MOSES was learned in all the wisdom, and the 
people devoted to all the superstitions of Egypt ; yet, 
when they come to explain that learning, they make it to 
consist in such fopperies, as a wise and honest man, like 
MOSES, would never practise : when they come to parti 
cularize those superstitions, they will not allow even the 
Golden Calf, the o MOIXO2 lr<& i "AIII2 xaXio>**, 
to be of their number. For by an odd chance, though 
not uncommon in blind scuffles, the infidels and we have 
changed weapons : Our enemies attack us with the Bible, 
to prove the Egyptians very learned and very super 
stitious in the time of Moses ; and we defend ourselves 
with the new Chronology of Sir Isaac Newton, to prove 
them very barbarous and very innocent. 

Would the reader know how this came about ; it was 
in this wise : The infidels had observed (as who that 
ever looked into sacred and profane Antiquity hath 
not ?) that in the Jewish Law there were many ordi 
nances respective of the institutions of Egypt. This 
circumstance they seized; and, according to their custom, 
envenomed; by drawing from thence a conclusion 
against The Divine Legation of Moses. The defenders 
of Revelation, surprised with the novelty of the argu 
ment, did that, in a fright and in excess of caution, 
which one may observe unprepared disputants generally 
do, to support their opinions ; that is, they chose rather 
to deny the PREMISSES than the CONCLUSION. For 
such, not knowing to what their adversary s principles 
may lead, think it a point of prudence to stop him in 
his first advance : whereas the skilful disputant well 
knows, that he never has his enemy at mure advantage, 
* Herod. l. iii. c. <i8. 



than when, by allowing the prermsses^ he shews him 
arguing wrong from his own principles ; for the question 
being then to be deckled by the certain rules of logic, his 
confutation exposes the weakness of the advocate as well 
as of the cause. When this is over, he may turn with 
a good grace upon the premisses ; to expose them, if 
false; to rectify them, if misrepresented ; or to employ 
them in the service of Religion, if truly and faithfully 
delivered : and this service they will never refuse him ; 
as I shall shew in the previous question c^i the high anti 
quity of Egypt, and in the main question of the 0.V2M*- 
sion of a future state in the institution of the Hebrews. 

And I am well persuaded that, had those excel 
lent advocates of Religion (whose labours have set 
the truth in a light not to be resisted) but duly weighed 
the character of those with whom they had to do, they 
would have been less startled at any consequences the 
power of their logic could have deduced. The Tolands, 
the Blourits, the Tindals, are, in truth, of a temper and 
complexion, in which one finds more of that quality 
which subjects men to draw wrong Conclusions, than 
of that which enables them to invent false Principles. 

The excellent SPENCER, indeed, endeavoured to dis 
sipate this panic, by shew ing these premisses to be the 
true key to the REASON OF THE LAW ; for the want of 
a sufficient reason in the ceremonial and positive part of 
it, was the greatest objection, which thinking men had, 
to the divinity of its original. 

But all this did not yet reconcile men to those pre 
misses. It would seem as if they had another quarrel 
with them, besides the poor unlearned fear of their leading 
to the infidel s conclusion ; namely, for their being an 
adversary s principle simply ; and, on that score alone 
to be disputed. This is a perverse, though common 
prejudice, which infects our whole communication ; 
and hath hurt unity in the church, and humanity in civil 
life, as well as peace in the schools. For who knows 
not that the same impotent aversion to things abused 
by an enemy, hath made one sort of sectaries divide 
from the national church, and another reprobate the 
most indifferent manners of their country * ? 
* Puritans, Quakers, &c. 

VOL. IV. G And 


And it is to be observed, that till that unlucky time 
when the infidels first blundered upon truth, this prin 
ciple met with a very general reception : the ancient 
Fathers, and modern Divines of all denominations, con 
curring in their use of it, to illustrate the wisdom of 
God s Laws, and the truth of his Son s interpretation of 
them, where he assureth us that they were given to the 
Hebrews for the hardness of their hearts ; no sort of 
men sticking out, but a few visionary Jews, who, be 
sotted with the nonsense of their cabbala, obstinately 
shut their eyes against all the light which the excellent 
MAIMOXIDES had first poured into this palpable ob 

Not that I would be understood as admitting the 
premisses in the latitude in which our adversaries deliver 
them ; 

Iliacos infra muros peccatur fy extra. 

The human mind, miserably weak and instable, and 
distracted with a great variety of objects, is naturally in 
clined to repose itself in SYSTEM ; nothing being more 
uneasy to us than a state of doubt ; or a view too large 
for our comprehension. Hence we see, that, of every 
imaginary fact, some or other have made an hypothesis ; 
of every cloud, a castle : And the common vice of these 
castle-builders is to draw every thing within its precincts, 
which they fancy may contribute to its defence or em 
bellishment. We have given an instance, in the foregoing 
book, of the folly of those who have run into the con 
trary extreme, and are for deriving all arts, laws and 
religions, from the People of God : an extravagance at 
length come to such a height, that, if you will believe 
certain writers *, the poor heathen had neither the grace 
to kneel to prayers, nor the wit to put their Gods under 
cover, till the Israelites taught them the way. But our 
wise adversaries are even with them ; and will bate no 
believer an inch, in driving on an hypothesis : for had 
not the Egyptians, by great good luck, as they give us 
to understand f, enjoined honour to parents, and re 
strained theft by punishment, the Jews had been in a 

* See note [C] at the end of this Book. 

t See Marsham s Canon Chron, ed Franeq. pp. 177. 188. 


sad blind condition when they came to take possession 
of the promised land. Are these men more sober in their 
accounts of the religious Institutions of the Hebrews? I : 
think not; when they pretend to prove circumcision of 
Egyptian original from the testimony of late writers, who 
neither speak to the point, nor in this point are in reason 
to be regarded, if they did *. 

But why all this strife for or against the one or other 
hypothesis ? for assuredly it would no more follow, from 
this of our adversaries, that the Jewish Religion was 
false, than from a lately revived one of our friends, 
which supposes all the Gods of Egypt to have come out 
of Abraham s family f, that the Egyptian was true. 

It must indeed be of use to true religion, where or 
whatever it be, to trace up things to their original : and 
for that reason alone, without any views to party, I shall 
endeavour to prove the four following propositions. 

1. That the Egyptian learning, celebrated in Scrip 
ture, and the Egyptian superstition there condemned, 
were the very learning and superstition represented by 
the Greek writers, as the honour and opprobrium of that 

2. That the Jewish people were extremely fond of 
Egyptian manners, and did frequently fall into Egyptian 
superstitions : and that many of the laws given to them, 
by the ministry of Moses, were instituted, partly in com 
pliance to their prejudices, and partly in opposition to 
those snperstititons. 

3. That Moses s Egyptian learning, and the laws 
he instituted in compliance to the people s prejudices, 
and in opposition to Egyptian superstitions, are no rea 
sonable objection to the divinity of his mission. And, 

4. That those very circumstances are a strong con 
firmation of the truth of his pretensions. 

The inquiry > into which the proof of these points will 
lead us, is, as we said, very necessary to the gaining a 
true idea of the nature of the Jewish Dispensation : as 
that idea will enable the reader to form a right judgment 
of the force of those arguments, I am preparing for the 
support of my THIRD PROPOSITION, That the doctrine 

* See note [D] at the end of this Book. 

f Voyez Reflexions Critiques sur les Histoirei ds Anciens Peuples. 

G 2 Of 


of a future state is not to be found in, nor did make 
part of, the Jewish Dispensation. But the inquiry has 
still a further use. I shall employ the result of it to 
strengthen that general conclusion, THAT MOSES HAD 
HE ALLY A DIVINE MISSION, which I have promised 
to deduce through the medium of this third proposition : 
so that the reader must not think me in the humour to 
trifle with him, if this inquiry should prove longer than 
he expected. 

And here, on the entrance, it will be no improper 
place to explain my meaning, when, in my first setting 
out, I promised to demonstrate the truth of the Jewish 
Had I meant no more by this, than that I would argue 
with him on common principles, I had only insulted the 
reader s understanding by an affected expression, while 
I pretended to make that peculiar to my defence, which 
is, or ought to be, a circumstance common to all : or 
had I meant so much by it, as to imply, that I would 
argue with the Deist on his own false principles, I had 
then unreasonably bespoke the reader s long attention 
to a mere argument ad hominem> which, at best, had 
only proved the free-thinker a bad reasoner; and who 
wants to be convinced of that ? but my point was not so 
much to shew that the Infidel was in the wrong, as that 
the Believer was in the right. The only remaining sense 
then of the Deist s own principles is this, Those true 
principles of his, which because they are generally held 
by the enemies of Religion, and almost as generally re 
jected by the friends of it, have got the title of deistical 
principles. Such, for instance, as this I am going upon, 
the high antiquity of the Egyptian wisdom ; and such 
as that, for the sake of which I go upon it, the omission 
of the doctrine of a future state in the Mosaic dispen 
sation. And these are the principles by which I promise, 
in good time, to overturn all his conclusions, 


THE first proposition is, That the Egyptian learning* 
celebrated in Scripture^ and the Egyptian superstition 



there condemned, rrere the Ten] learning ami super- 
stitivrt represented by the Greek writers as the honour 
and opprobrium of that kingdom. 

To prove this, 1 shall in the iir^t place shew (both by 
external and internal evidence) the just pretensions which 
Egypt had to a superior antiquity: and then examine 
the new hypothesis of Sir ISAAC NEWTON against that 

It is confessed on all hands, that the Greek writers 
concur in representing Egypt as one of the most ancient 
and powerful monarchies in the world. In support of 
what they deliver, we may observe, that they have given 
a very particular account of the civil and religious cus 
toms in use from the most early times of memory : cus 
toms of such a kind, as shew the followers uf them to 
have been most polite and powerful. Thus stands the 
Grecian evidence. 

But to this it maybe replied, that the Greeks are, in 
all respects, incompetent witnesses, and carry with them 
such imperfections as are sufficient to discredit any evi 
dence ; being, indeed, very ignorant, and very prejudiced. 
As this made them liable to imposition ; so, falling, 
as we shall see, into ill hands, they actually were im 
posed on. 

Their ignorance may be fairly collected from their 
age; and from the authors of their intelligence. They 
all lived long after the times in question ; and, though 
they received indeed their information from Egypt itself; 
yet, for the most part, it was not till after the entire 
destruction of that ancient empire, and when it was now 
become a province, in succession, to Asiatic and Euro 
pean conquerors : when their ancient and public records 
\vcre destroyed ; and their very learning and genius 
changed to a conformity with their Grecian masters : 
who would needs, at this time of day, seek wisdom 
from Egypt, which could but furnish them with their 
own ; though, because they would have it so, disguised 
under the stately obscurity of an Eastern cover *. 

Nor were their prejudices less notorious. They 
thought themselves Autocthones, the original inhabi 
tants of the earth, and indebted to none for their ad van* 
* See Div. Leg. book iii. 4. 

G 3 tages. 


tages. But when knowledge and acquaintance with 
foreign nations had convinced them of their mistake; 
and that, so far from owing nothing to others, they owed 
almost every thing to Egypt; their writers, still true to 
their natural vanity, now gave the post of honour to 
these, which they could no longer keep to themselves : 
and complimented their new instructors with the 
most extravagant antiquity. What the Greeks con 
ceived out of vain-glory, the Egyptians cherished to 
promote a trade. This country was long the mart of 
knowledge for the Eastern and Western v odd : and as 
nothing so much recommends this kind of commodity as 
its age, they set it off by forged records, which extended 
tlTeir history to a most unreasonable length of time : ac 
counts of these have been conveyed to us by ancient 
authors, and fully confuted by the modern. Thus stands 
the objection to the Grecian evidence. And, though 
I have no business to determine in this question, as the 
use I make of the Greek authority is not at all affected 
by it; yet I must needs confess that, were there no 
writings of higher antiquity to confirm the Grecian, their 
testimony would be very doubtful : but, could writings 
of much higher antiquity be found to contradict it, they 
would deserve to have no credit at all. 
. Whatever therefore they say of the high antiquity of 
Egypt, unsupported by the reason of the thing, or the 
testimony of holy Scripture, shall never be employed in 
this inquiry : but whatever Reason and Scripture seem 
to contradict, whether it serve the one or other purpose, 
I shall always totally reject. 

The unanimous agreement of the Greek writers in re 
presenting Egypt as the most ancient and best policied 
empire in the world, is, as we say, generally known 
and acknowledged. 

I. Let us see then, in the first place, what REASON 
says concerning this matter. 

There is, if 1 be not much mistaken, one circumstance 
in the situation of gypt, which seems to assert its claim 
to a priority amongst the civilized Nations; and con 
sequently to it s eldership in Arts and Arms. 

There is no soil on the face of the globe so fertile, but 
what, in a little time, becomes naturally effete by pas 


turage and tillage. This, in the early ages of the world, 
forced the unsettled tribes of men to be perpetually 
shifting their abode. For the world lying all before 
them, they saw a speedier and easier relief in removing 
to fresh ground, than in turning their thoughts to the 
recovery * of the fertility of that ai jady spent : by occu 
pation : for it is necessity alone, to which we are in 
debted for all the artificial methods of supplying our wants. 

Now the plain of Egypt having its fertility annually 
restored by the periodic overflowings of the Nile, they, 
whom chance or choice had once directed to sit down 
upon its banks, had never after an occasion to remove 
their tents. And when men have been so long settled 
in a place, that the majority of the inhabitants are be 
come natives of the soil, the inborn love of a Country 
has, by that time, struck such deep roots into it, that 
nothing but extreme violence can draw them out. Hence, 
civil policy arises ; which, while the unsettled tribes of 
mankind keep shifting from place to place, remains 
stifled in its seeds. 

This, I apprehend, if rightly considered, will induce 
us to conclude, that Egypt was very likely to have been 
one of the first civilized countries on the globe. 

II. Let us see next what SCRIPTURE has recorded in 
support of the same truth. 

i . So early as the time of Abraham we find a king in 
Egypt of the common name of Pharaoh f : which would 
induce one to believe, that the civil policy was much the 
same as in the times of Joseph and Moses : and how 
perfect it then was, will be seen presently. This king 
dom is represented as abounding in corn, and capable 
of relieving others in a time of famine |. : which no king 
dom can do, where agriculture lias not been improved 
by art, and regulated by a civil policy. We see the 
splendor of a luxurious court, in the princes who resided 
in the monarch s household; amongst whom, we lind 
some (as the most thriving trade for royal favour) to have 
been procurers to his pleasures || : nor were the presents 

* See note [E] at the end of this Book. 
4 G-enesii xii. 15. J 10. 

(I The princes also of Pharaoh *aw her, and COMMENDED IIFR BEFORE 
PHARAOH; aud the uoman was taken v<-o I /iaraoh s house. Gen. xii. 15. 

e made 


made by Pharaoh to Abraham, at all unworthy of a 
great king *. An adventure of the same sort as this of 
Abraham s with Pharaoh, happened to his son Isaac 
with Abimelech ; which will instruct us in the difference 
between an Egyptian monarch, and a petty roitelet of 
the Philistines. Ab .nelech is described as little different 
from a simple particular f, without his guards, or great 
princes : so jealous and afraid of Isaac s growing power, 
that he obliged him to depart out of his dominions J ; 
and, not satisfied with that, went afterwards to beg a 
peace of him, and would swear him to the observance 
of it ||. 

2. The caravan of Ishmaelite merchants, going from 
Gilead to Egypt % brings us to the second scripture- 
period of this ancient monarchy. And here their camel- 
loads of spicerv, balm, and myrrh, and their traffic in 
young slaves **, commodities only for a rich and luxu 
rious people, sufficiently declare the established power 
and wealth of Egypt. We find a captain of Pharaoh s 
guard; a chief butler, and a baker ff. We see in the 
vestures of fine linen, in the gold chains, and state- 
chariots given to Joseph JJ, all the marks of luxury 
and politeness : and in the cities for laying up of stores 
and provisions ||||, the effects of wise government and 
opulence. Nor is the policy of a distinct PRIESTHOOD, 
which is so circumstantially described in the history of 
this period, one of the least marks of the high antiquity 
of this flourishing kingdom. It is agreed, on all hands, 
that there was such an Institution in Egypt, long before 
it was known in any other parts of the East. And if 
what Diodorous Siculus intimates to be the original of a 
distinct priesthood, be true, namely the growing mul 
titude of religious rites, we see the whole force of this 
6bservation. For multiplicity of religious rites is gene 
rally in proportion to the advances in civil life. 

3. The redemption of the Hebrews from their slavery 
is the third period of the Egyptian monarchy, recorded 
in Scripture. Here, the building of treasure cities 

* Gen. xii. 16. t Ib. ch. xxvi. 7, 8. J Ver. 16. 

]| Ver. 26, & seq. tf Chap, xxxvii. 25. ** Ver. 28. 

tf Chap, xxxix, xl. JJ Chap. xli. 42, 43. 
Jill Chap. xli. 1HT Exod. i. n. 



and the continual employment of so vast a multitude, ir* 
only preparing materials * for public edifices, shew the 
vast power and luxury of the State. Here too, we find 
a fixed and standing militia J* of chariots ; and, what is, 
more extraordinary, of cavalry^: in which kind of 
military address the Greeks were unskilled till long 
after the times of the Trojan war. And indeed, if we 
may believe St. Paul, this kingdom was chosen by God 
to be the scene of all his wonders, in support of his 
elect people, for this very reason, that through tlie ce 
lebrity of so famed an empire, the power of the true 
God might be spread abroad, and strike the observation 
of the whole habitable world. For the Scripture saith 
unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised 
thee up, that I might shezv my poicer in thee ; and that 
my name might be declared throughout all the earth jj. 

To this let me add, that Scripture every where,, 
throughout these three periods, represents Egypt as an 
entire kingdom under one monarch ^[ ; which is a certain 
mark of great advances in civil policy and power : all 
countries, on their first egression out of barbarity, being 
divided into many little States and principalities ; which, 
as those arts improved, were naturally brought, either 
by power or policy, to unite and coalesce. 

But here let me observe, such is the ceaseless revo 
lution of human affairs, that that power which reduced 
Egypt into a monarchy, was the very thing which, when 
it came to its height, occasioned its falling back again 
under its Reguli. Sesostris, as Diodorus Siculus in 
forms us, divided the Lower Egypt to his soldiery, by a 
kind of feudal law, into large patrimonial tenures. The 
successors of this militia, as Marsham reasonably con 
jectures **, growing powerful and factious, set up, each 
leader for himself, in his own patrimonial Nome. The 
powerful empire of the Franks, here in the West, from 
the same causes, underwent the same fate, from the 
debility of which it did not recover till these latter ages. 

Thus invincibly do the Hebrew records f | support 

* Exod. v. 14. f Ch.xiv. 7. J Ver. 9. || Rom. ix. 17. 
1F See Gen. xli. 41, 43, 45, 46, 55. xlvii. 20. & Exod. passim. 
** Can. Chron. p. 446. 
-ft See note [F] at the end of this Book, 



the Grecian evidence for the high antiquity of Egypt. 
And it is further remarkable, that the later inspired 
writers of the sacred canon confirm this concurrent tes 
timony, in the constant attributes of antiquity and wisdom, 
which, upon all occasions, they bestow upon the Egyp 
tian nation. Thus the prophet Isaiah, in denouncing 
God s judgments against this people : " Surely the 
" princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the WISE 
" counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish : How say 
ye unto Pharaoh, lam the son of the WISE, the son 
" of ANCIENT KINGS? Where are they? where are 
" thy WISE MEN ? and let them tell thee now, and let 
" them know what the Lord of hosts hath purposed upon 

" Egypt*." 

But the Greek writers do not content themselves to 
tell us, in a vague and general manner, of the high an 
tiquity and power of Egypt, which in that case was little 
to be regarded ; but they support the fact, of which their 
books are so full, by a minute and circumstantial account 
of INSTITUTIONS, civil and religious, said to be observed 
by that people from the most early times, which, in 
their very nature, speak a great and powerful people ; 
tmd belong only to such as arc so. Now this account 
sacred Scripture remarkably confirms and verifies. 

i. The PRIESTHOOD being the primum mobile of the 
Egyptian policy, we shall begin with that. Diodorus 
"Siculus thus describes its state and establishment : 
" The whole country being divided into three parts; the 
" first belongs to the body of Priests ; an order in the 
/ highest reverence amongst their countrymen, for their 
<c piety to the Gods, and their consummate wisdom, ac- 
" quired by the best education, and the closest appli- 
<c cation to the improvement of the mind. With their 
" revenues they supply all Egypt \\ith public sacrifices ; 
" they support a number of inferior officers, and main- 
* c tain their own families : for the Egyptians think it ut- 
" terly unlawful to make any change in their public 
" worship ; but hold that every thing should be admi- 
kl nistered by their priests, in the same constant inva- 
" riable manner. Nor do they deem it at all fitting that 
" those, to whose cares the public is so much indebted, 

* Isaiah xix. 11, 12. See note [G] at the end of this Book. 

" should 


<c should want the common necessaries of life : for the 
16 priests are constantly attached to the person of the 
" King, as his coadjutors, counsellors, and instructors, 
" in the most weighty matters. For it is not amongst 
" them as with the Greeks, where one single man or 
~" woman exercises the office of the priesthood. Here 
" a Body or Society is employed, in sacrificing and 
" other rites of public worship; who transmit their 
<c profession to their children. This Order, likewise, 
* is exempt from all charges and imposts, and holds 
" the second honours, under the King, in the public 
u administration *." 

Of all the colleges of the priesthood, Herodotus tells 
us, that of HELIOPOLIS was most famed for wisdom 
and learning t : and Strabo says that, in his time, very 
spacious buildings yet remained in that place ; where, 
as the report ran, was formerly the chief residence of 
the Priests, who cultivated the studies of philosophy and 
astronomy ;. 

Thus these three celebrated historians ; whose ac 
count, in every particular, is fully confirmed by MOSES; 
who tells us, that the Egyptian Priests were a distinct 
order in the state, and had an established landed reve 
nue; that when the famine raged so severely that the 
people were compelled to sell their lands to the crown 
for bread, the Priests still kept theirs, unalienated, and 


(jtifot TO c-yr^/xa TUV s(sv*> ^-yr*3j vfovw rvcvov vrcifsc. T&* 
vtcc Tf TJJV (If T{ &; sycrstsiay, x^ oia, TO wAi/r^* 1 Qvviffiv Tt?< 

v TCX.<; Tt 
ra,<; KOCT Atyvii\<jv 


rui> (A 
TUV ot ^ilynywlw x^ d ioaa xaAot y#o/xvo tf n /a,p uyjuo ta^pa, 

Taj tuv viuv tyv&icts xj T]M,5 otal^ittfcrt, x^ ToT? t/yo^otj TJJV ljtxoav T 
^ta ii7^opcrn Cra^ao^oao H . Eiiri OE Tot Sjy.vluv Tt aTsAtTj, xj ^fle- 
ftvoflst pilot, TOV /Sa<7Aa TaT? TS ^&|atj, xj ra^j i^ucr^a.^. Bibl. Hist. 
p. 46. Steph. ed. 

f O yap HAiBTreArrai Xcyovlat Ai yvisrli^* iTyat AoyiWT<*]o. lib. ii. C. 3. 
J v oe T>J HAt7roA x oixa^ tl^o^iEv /AtyaAaj, j/ oT? ^*/TtCov o* 

ac- TO 
. 1. xvii. 



were supplied gratis *. Diodorus s account, which 
gives us the reason of. this indulgence, confirms the 
scripture-history, and is fully supported by it: for there 
\ve see, not only the reverence in which the Order was 
held, but the public uses of religion, to which two thirds 
of their revenues were applied, kept Pharaoh from at 
tempting on their property. Again, MOSES supports 
what Diodorus says of the public and high employment 
of the Priests (who were privy counsellors and ministers 
of. state), where speaking of the priest of Ox f, he calls 
him Chcheii) which, as J. Cocceius shews in his lexi 
con J, signifies as well the friend and privy- counsellor 
of the King, as a Priest ; and accordingly, the Chald. 
Paraphr. calls him Princcps On. The word often 
occurs ; and, I imagine, was borrowed from the Egyp 
tian language ; the Hebrews having no order of priest 
hood before that instituted by MOSES. This further 
appears from the name Goes ||, given to the priests of 
the Samothradan Mysteries, plainly a corruption of Coen 
or Chohen. The Mysteries in general, we have shewn 1j", 
were derived from Egypt, and particularly those of Ceres 
crisis, at Eleusis : Now, in Samothrace, the Mysteries 
were, of Ceres and Proserpine, as at Eleusis**. Lastly, 
MOSES confirms Ilcrodotus s and Strabo s account of the 
superior learning and dignity of the Heliopolitan college. 
When Joseph was exalted to the prime ministry, he 

* Only the land of the priests bought he not : for the priests lad a 
portion assigned them of Phuruoh, and did cat their portion which 
Pharaoh gave thcni\ lu/ienjorc they sold not their lands. Gen. 
xlvii. 22. 

f Gen. xlvi. 20. 

J Cko/icn, proprie ct ex vi vocis, qm accedit ad Regem, et eum, 
qui summus est. Ideo explicationis ergo adjungitur tanquam ety- 
mologkc evolutio, Ilxod. xix. 22. " Sacerdotes qui acceduut ad 
" Jehovam." Non, quod vox Cltokcn notet prunatuin, ut vult Kim- 
chius, sed quod notet primos acccdciitium Certe in yEgypto iucrunt 
tales, et his alimonia a rcge debebatur. 

j) KO/TJ?, tffevs KaCsijSwir. Hesych. 

5f Div. Leg. book. ii. 4. 

** Mfvvlai ^ it ?y Zct.fji.ofyax.y TO~? Ka^i^oK, as Mvoiffea.*; Qyc-} x 

TO. OVQfJLCtl jt. Tlo-CGtpq $ tlff-l Tot U^fAOVt A^t^, *A$;WKt<7, 

a/ t roffr Atovucro^^. Schol. in. Apoll. Argon. 1. i. ver. 917- 



tells us, that Pharaoh married him to a daughter of the 
priest of ON * ; .which the Septuagint and vulgar Latin 
rightly interpret HELIOPOLIS: that the king was then 
in a disposition to do Joseph the highest honours, is 
plain from the circumstances of the story ; and that he 
principally consulted his establishment in this alliance, 
appears irom the account given us by these Greek his 
torians. We see the public administration was in the 
hands of the priesthood; who would unwillingly bear a 
stranger at the head of affairs. The bringing Joseph 
therefore into their family, and Order f, which was he 
reditary, was the best expedient to allay their preju 
dices and envy. And this Pharaoh did most effectually, 
by marrying him into that Cast which was then of greatest 
name and credit amongst them. 

I will only observe, that this superior nobility of the 
Priests of On seems to have been chiefly owing to their 
higher antiquity. Heliopolis, or the city of the Sun, 
was the place where that luminary was principally wor 
shipped; and certainly, from the most early times : for 
Diodorus tells us, that .the first Gods of Egypt were 
the sun and moon\\ the truth of which, all this, laid 
together, remarkably confirms. Now if we suppose, as 
is very reasonable, that the first established Priests in 
Egypt were those dedicated to the Sun at On y we shall 
nut be at a loss to account for their titles of nobility. 
Strabo says, they were much given to astronomy ; and 
this too we can easily believe : for what more likely 
than that they should be fond || of the study of that sys 
tem, over which their God presided, not only in his 
moral, but in his natural capacity ? For whether they 
received the doctrine from original tradition, or whether 
they invented it at hazard, which is more likely ^j", in 
order to exalt this their visible God, by giving him the 
post of honour, it is certain they taught" that the suu 
was in the centre of its system, and that all the other 
bodies moved round it, in perpetual revolutions. This 
noble theory came, with the rest of the Egyptian learn- 

* Gen. xlvi. 20. f See note [H] at the end of this Book.. 

- t See Div. Leg. book ii. j[ See note [I] at the end of this Book, 
If See Div. Leg. book i. 


ing, into Greece (being brought thither by Pythagoras; 
who, it is remarkable, received it from (Enuphis, a 
priest of Heliopolis *) ; and, after having given the most 
distinguished lustre to his school, it sunk into obscu 
rity, and suffered a total eclipse throughout a long suc 
cession of learned and unlearned ages; till these times 
relumed its ancient splendor, and immoveably fixed it 
on the most unerring principles of science. 

II. Another observable circumstance of conformity 
between the Greek historians and MOSES, is in their 
accounts of the RELIGIOUS KITES of Egypt. Herodo 
tus expressly tells us, that the Egyptians esteemed it a 
profanation, to sacrifice any kind of cattle, except 
swine, bulls, clean calves, and geese -f ; and, in another 
place, that heifers, rams, and goats were held sacred j, 
either in one province or in another : though not from 
any adoration paid in these early times to the living 
animal. I shall shew hereafter that the Egyptians at 
first only worshipped their figures or images. How 
ever picture worship must needs make the animals them 
selves sacred, and unfit for sacrifice. Now here again, 
in confirmation of this account, we are told by Scripture, 
that when Pharaoh would have had MOSES sacrifice to 
God, in the land of Egypt, according to his own family- 
rites, the prophet objected, // is not meet so to do\ 
for we shall sacrifice the abomination of tire Egyptians 
to the Lord our God: Lo shall ice sacrifice the abunina- 
tion of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they 
not stone us\\? And if Herodotus came any thing near 
the truth in his account of the early superstition of 
E^ypt, the Israelites, we see, could not avoid sacri 
ficing the abomination. /. e. the Gods of the Egyptians. 

* See note [K] at the end of this Book. 

1. ii. c. 45. 

Ta? /33$ Ta? StjX/aj *Ayvfr7| 
Ctp. xli. " 

^tfj 1 *. ta? ya oy w T? airy? uTrafits O(AO*U<; 

TE x^ Ocri^io-. TO? ^75 Awtv&ot tlvaA ^e 

tr&tflai. ocoi os -ra M^OTjIoj tKfaflai lgov t y >o/x5 Ttt 
sv^ricriu eiVi, TO ^i ctlyvv U7rey6is,f.>9 . f "? 9&Wt cap. xlii. 

f) Exod. viii. a6. 



And with what deadly hatred and revenge they pursued 
such imaginary impieties, the same Herodotus informs* 
us, in another place *. 

III. To come next to the CIVIL ARTS of Egypt. , 
Concerning their practice of physic, Herodotus says r 
that it was divided amongst the Faculty in this manner : 
" Every distinct distemper hath its own physician, who 
" confines himself to the study and cure of that alone, 
" and meddles with no other : so that all places are 
" crowded with physicians : for one class hath the care* 
ic of the eyes, another of the head, another of the teeth, 
" another of the region of the belly, and another of 
" occult distempers f ." Alter this, we shall not think 
it strange that Joseph s physicians are represented as a 
number And Joseph commanded his $e wants, the phy 
sicians, to embalm Jus father : and the physicians em 
balmed Israel^. A body of these domestics would now 
appear an extravagant piece of state, even in a first mi 
nister. But then, we see, it could not be otherwise, 
where each distemper had its proper physician : so that 
every great family, as well as city, must needs, as He 
rodotus expresses it, swarm with the Faculty : and a 
more convincing instance, of the grandeur, luxury, and 
politeness of a people, cannot, I think, be well given. 
But indeed it was this circumstance for which the Egyp 
tian nation was peculiarly distinguished, not only by the 
earliest Greek writers (as we shall see hereafter), but 
likewise by the holy prophets. There is a remarkable 
passage in Jeremiah, where, foretelling the overthrow 
of Pharaoh s army at the Euphrates, he describes Egypt 
by this characteristic, her skill in medicine. Go up 
into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin the daughter of 
Egypt: in vain shalt thoa USE MANY MEDICINES; for 
thou shalt not be cured \\. The prophet delights in this 
kind of imagery, which marks out a people by its singu 
larities, or pre-eminence. So again, in this very chap- 

* Lib. ii cap. 65. 
H )$ tijlt 

o fAv 

ttf-tetcrt ol as, Ju^aA>7 o ol f o^o/Iwv* of $i, 
*(pai.-ii y tvcruit. lib. il. C. 84. 

J Gen, 1. ^ f| Jerem. xlvi. 11. 



ter: EGYPT, says he, is like a FAIR HEIFER, but 
destruction comet h : it cometh from the north. Also 
her hired men are in the midst of her like FATTED 
BULLOCKS, for they also are turned back and art fled 
away together*. For the worship of Isis and Osiris, 
under the figure of a cow and a bull, and afterwards by 
the animals themselves, was the most celebrated in all 
the Egyptian Ritual. 

But a learned writer, frightened by the common panic 
of the high antiquity of Egypt, will needs shew, the art 
of medicine to be of much later original f. And to- 
make room for his hypothesis, he contrives to explain 
away this direct testimony of Herodotus, by a very un 
common piece of criticism. This is the substance of 
his reasoning, and in his own words: " We read of 
" the Egyptian physicians in the days of Joseph; and 
" Diodorus represents them as an order of men not 
tc only very ancient in Egypt, but as having a full em- 
" ployment in continually giving physic to the people, 
" not to cure, but to prevent their falling into distem- 
rc pers. Herodotus says much the same thing, and 
<e represents the ancient Egyptians as living under a 
" continual course of physic, undergoing so rough a re- 
" gimen for three days together, every month, that I 
" cannot bnt suspect some mistake, both in him, and 
" Diodorus s account of them in this particular. Hero- 
* dotus allows them to have lived in a favourable cli- 
* l mate, and to have been a healthy people, which 
<k seems hardly consistent with so much medicinal dis- 
" cipline as he imagined them to go through, almost 
" without interruption. The first mention we have of 
4< physicians in the sacred pages shews indeed that there 
46 was such a profession in Egypt in Joseph s time, and 
" Jacob was their patient ; but their employment w r as 
" to embalm him after he was dead ; we do not read 
" that any care was taken to give him physic whilst 
" alive ; which inclines me to suspect that the Egyptians 
" had no practice for the cure of the diseases of a sick 
" bed in these days : we read of no sick persons in the 
" early ages. The diseases of Egypt, which the Israelites 

* Jerem. xlvi. 20, 21. 

j- See note [L] at the end of this Book. 

" had 


cc had been afraid of, were such as they had no cure 
" for ; and any other sicknesses were then so little 
" known, that they had no names for them. Art 
" early deatli was so unusual, that it was generally 
" remarked to he a punishment for some extraordinary 
" wickedness. Moses informs us, that the physicians 
* embalmed Jacob ; many of them were employed ia 
" the office, and many days time was necessary for the 
ff performance, and different persons performed dif- 
"" ferent parts of it, some being concerned in the care 
* of one part of the body, and some of the other : and 
" I imagine this manner of practice occasioned Ilero- 
" dotus to hint, that the Egyptians had a different 
" physician for every distemper, or rather, as his sub- 
" sequent words express, for each different part of the 
l< body: For so indeed they had, not to cure the 
" diseases of it, but to embalm it when dead. These, 
" I imagine, were the offices of the Egyptian physicians 
" in the early days. They were an order of the mi- 
" nisters of religion* The art of curing distempers or 
t( diseases was not yet attempted. We may be sure the 
* f physicians practised only surgery until after Homer s 
** time ; for we read in him, that their whole art con- 
" sisted in extracting arrows, healing wounds, and pre- 
" paring anodynes. In the days of Pythagoras, the 
" learned began to form rules of diet for the preserva- 
" tion of health, and to prescribe in this point to sick 
11 persons, in order to assist towards their recovery. 
fC And in this, Strabo tells us, consisted the practice of 
" the ancient Indian physicians. They endeavoured to 
" cure distempers by a diet regimen, but they gave no 
" physic. Hippocrates began the practice of visiting 
< sick-bed patients, and prescribed medicines with suc- 
fi cesn fur their distempers. This, I think, was the 
" progress of physic. And it must evidently appear 
"from it, that the Egyptians could hcrce no such ptyj- 
" sicians in the days of Moses as Diodorus and Hero- 
" dotus SEEM to suppose*." So far this writer. But 
if it be made appear, that the very contrary of every 
thins here advanced be the truth ; I shall hope, that 

* The sacred and profane History of the World connected, vol. ii, 
Ed. 2. pp. 35Q> 360, 361. 364367. 

VOL,. IV. H what 


what Herodotus ami Diodorus, conformable to Scrip 
ture, do not seem to suppose, but directly and circuto- 
stantially to affirm, may be admitted for certain. 

He tolls us, iirst,. "that Diodorus represents the 
" Egyptian physicians as administering physic to the 
f{ people in the early times, net to cure, fiyt to prevent 
" t /reir falling into distempers.- One would conclude, 
from his manner of expression, that the historian had said 
they did not administer to the infirm, but to the healthy 
only ,- which gives us the idea of a superstition kind o 
practice, by charms mid aimilcts : and so indeed the 
writer is willing we should think of it. I should imagine., 
-says he , that thc rr ancient prescriptions, ichich Dhtdo- 
rm and Herodotus suppose them so punctual in ob- 
Arcing, were not medicinal, but re./igiotts purificatwrn. 
*p. 361. Let Diodorus then speak for himself: " They 
" prevent distempers, says he, and keep the body in 
health by refrigerating and laxative medicines ; by 
(i abstinence and emetics; sometimes in a daily rcgi- 
tf men, sometimes with an intermission every three or 
* lour days : for they hold a super-Unity in all food, as- 
44 usually taken; and that it is the original of distem- 
* pers : so that the above-mentioned regimen: remove^ 
t; the cause, and greatly contributes to preserve the 
body in a state of health *." Here we have a very 
rational theory, and expert and able practice ; this pre- 
.-ciibing to [jrevent distempers, being,, as amongst us-, 
the result of the physician s long experience in his art; 
for the regimen, we see, was, intermitted or continued 
according to the habit .and constitution of the patient. 

Bid the Egyptians being a healthy people, and living 
wider a fawurahk climate, could not have occasion 
(says the learned writer) for so much physic; therefore 
he will .suspect tlwir accounts. I have observed, thafc 
these accounts are a proof of that grandeur, luxury, and 
politeness, which sacred and profane history ascribe 

* Tuq o~s- yo<ri?<; c r ^oa]aAa^ (ZJ (y i 4<;&i vEpaTrsvacn rot, cuf^ailx KXvep.o~(;, >^ 
ro-fi//oK Tia; Jfctda ^piot?, ^ w-i w.r, t t/xjTot?, svlols plv y.a v 
syjsls o*e TftK- i) rirlaea.^ i^s^a.? ^aAiiTrovJcc. tya&l -yap, 

; : to- 


to this people, and which so many other circumstances 
concur to make credible. Now a too great repletion, 
the effect of a luxurious diet,- would certainly find em 
ployment for the whole tribe of evacuants (as we may 
see by the various experience of onr own times), not 
withstanding all the advantages of climate and constitu 
tion. And let me observe, and it seems to he decisive, 
that the very establishment of this principle of th-e 
Egyptian physic, that all distempers arose from a too 
great repletion, fully evinces them to be a very luxu 
rious people : for a nation accustomed to a simple and 
frugal diet, could never have afforded sufficient observa 
tions for the invention of such a theory. 

It -is true, (he owns) we hear of physicians in Joseph s 
family, who embalmed his father Jacob ; but ice do not 
read they gai c linn any physic while alive. Nor do 
we read that Jacob had any other distemper than old 
age; and, I suppose, I lippocrates himself would scarce 
have prescribed to that But we read of no sick per 
sons in the early ages. A plain man would have thought 
this a good reason why we read of no medicines admi 
nistered. Though no man, who considers the nature of 
Scripture history, will think this any proof that there 
were no sick persons in those early ages. But further, 
the diseases of Egypt which the Israelites had been 
afraid oj\ were such as th-ey had no cure for, Deut 
xxviii. 27. and from hence is inferred the low estate of 
medicine in these early times. One would reasonably 
suppose the authority here quoted, to support this ob 
servation, had informed us that these were natural 
diseases, which submitted not to the rude practice of 
that time. But we are surprised to find that they are 
supernatural punishments which the Prophet is here de 
nouncing in case of disobedience : A /id Providence 
would have defeated its own purpose, in suffering these 
to be treatable by the common rules of art: " But it 
" shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken to the 
" voice of the Lord thy God, The Lord will smite 
" thee with the botch of Egypt, &c. whereof thou canst 
" not be healed *," That very Botch or Boil, which 
God had, in their behalf, miraculously inflicted on the 
? Deut. xxviii. 15. 27, 

H ,2 Egyp- 


Egyptians, by the ministry of this Prophet ; as appears 
by the following words of God himself: " If thou -wilt 
" (says he) diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord 
" thy God, &c. I will put none of these diseases upon 
tc thee which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for 
" I am the Lord that healeth thee*." And all other 
sicknesses, this learned writer says, were thcti so little 
known, that they had no- name for them. For which we 
are referred to the following words of the same denun 
ciation*, " Also every sickness and every plague which 
" is not written in the book of this law, them will the 
t{ Lord bring upon there till thou be destroyed-)-." 
This seems as if the writer considered the law of Moses; 
in the light of Salmon s Dispensatory, in which we rea 
sonably suppose every disease and remedy without name 
or mention, to be unknown. And still further, An 
early death (says he) was so unusual, that it was gene 
rally remarked to be a punishment for some wickedness: 
and for tins we are sent to the xxxviiith chapter of Ge- 
Bois. It seems then it was the rarity of the fact, which 
made men believe the evil to be a punishment. Tsli 
j;ow I imagined, it was the sense of their being under aa 
extraordinary Providence: it is certain at least, that the 
book of Genesis as plainly represents the patriarchs, as 
the book of Deuteronomy represents their posterity to be 
i siider that dispensation: and 1 hope, ere long, to provtf 
these representations true. If then we hear in Scripture 
of little sickness but what is delivered as the effect of 
divine vengeance, no believer, I persuade myself, will 
escribe this opinion to ignorance, superstition, or an 
unusual appearance, though pagan writers be never so 
.much accustomed to talk in that strain J, but will own 
. it to be the necessary consequence of an extraordinary 
providence. The truth is, diseases were then, as now, 
. common in the world at large ; but the infliction of them, 
or an exemption from them, amongst the people of 
(rod, made part of the sanction of that economy under 
which they lived : " Ye shall serve the Lord your 

* Exod. xv. -26, f Deut. xxviii. 61. 

t Eodem auctore [Hoinero] disci potest, morbos turn ad iran^ 
iDrwum imniortaliiim reiatos esse; & ab iisdera opem posqi solitam. 
(-. .^suii de Mediciau, lib. i. Prsef? 


f - 


* God," says MOSES, ( * and he shall bless thy bread 
4 and thy water, and I will take SICKNESS away from 
6t the midst of thee*." And again, " Thou shalt be 
" blessed above all people,- and the Lord will take 
" away from thee all SICKNESS -f ." But there are of 
ihese Divines who read their Bible, and readily talk of 
the extraordinary Providence there represented, yet 
argue i all questions arising from sacred history as if 
there were indeed no such thing. 

The learned writer goes on ; The physicians embalmed 
Jacob, many of them were employed hi the office, and 
many days tune was necessary for the performance) and 
different persons performed different parts of it, some 
being concerned in the care of one part of the body, and 
some of the other. This account is pretended to be 
taken from Diodorus: how the latter part came in, or 
how it can be true, unless the body were cut in pieces 
to be embalmed, is not easy to conceive : but we iiow it 
was embalmed intire; and Diodorus says nothing -of some 
being concerned in the care of one part of the body, and 
some of the other. His plain, intelligible account is this ; 
That different persons performed different parts of the 
operation ; one marked the place for incision ; another 
cut; a third drew out the entrails; a fourth salted the body; 
a fifth washed ; and a sixth embalmed it. But the learned 
Writer s addition to the account seems for the sake of 
introducing the extraordinary criticism which follows. 

And I imagine, says he, this manner of practice oc 
casioned Herodotus to HINT that the Egyptians had ft 
different physician for every distemper, or rather, as 
the subsequent words express, for each different part of 
the body : for so Indeed they had, not to cure the diseases 

of it, but to embalm it when dead. What he means 

by Herodotus s hinting, I can hardly tell: for had the 
historian been to give his evidence in a court of justice, 
it is impossible he should have delivered himself with 
more precision. Let us hear him over again : " Every 
" distinct DISTEMPER [NOY2O2] hath its own physician, 
" who confines himself to the study and cure of that, 
" and meddles with no other; so that all places are 
" crowded with physicians : for one class hath the care 
* Exod. xxiii. 25. f Dcut. vii. 14, 15. 

H 3 of 


" of the eyes, another of the head,- another of the teeth, 
*, c another of the region of the belly, and another of 
withstanding all this, by -every distemper, is meant, it 
seems, each part of a dead body: Death, indeed, has 
been often called a remedy, but never, I believe, a 

disease, before. But the subsequent words, he says, 

lead us to this sense. The reader will suspect by this, 
that I have not given him the whole of the account : But 
the subsequent words., whereby our author would support 
his interpretation, are the beginning of a new chapter 
about funeral rites: As to their mournings for the dead, 
and funwtl riles, they are of this kind*, 8$c. Now 
because Herodotus speaks next of their obsequies, which, 
niethinks, was methodical enough, after his account ot 
their physicims, this writer would have the foregoing 
chapter an anticipation of the following ; and the his 
torian to treat of his subject before he comes to it. 
lie goes on : For so indeed they Iwd \i. e. a different 
physician for each different part of the body] not to cure 
the diseases of it, but to embalm it when dead. I low comes 
he to know this? Doth Scripture inform him that they had 
a different physician for every different part of a dead 
body r No. They are only the Greek writers (in his 
opinion) misunderstood, who are supposed to say it. But 
why will he depend so much upon them in their accoun 
of funeral rites, and -so little in their account of phy 
sicians ? Scripture, which says they used embalming, 
and had many physicians, is equally favourable to both 
accounts : But it may be, one is, in itself, more credible 
than the other. It is so ; but surely it is that which tells 
us they had a different physician to every different dis 
temper ; for we see great use in this ; it being the best, 
nay perhaps the only expedient of advancing medicine 
into a science. On the other hand, what is said of the 
several parts assigned to several men, in the operation 
of-.eiubaiming, appears, at first view, much more won 
derful. Tistrue, it may be rendered credible; but then 
it is- only by admitting the other account of the Egyptian 
practice of physic, which the learned writer hath re 
jected : for when each disorder of the body had a several 

\y\ A^SJ L ii. c. 85. 



physician, it was natural, it was expedient, that" -each 
of These, who were the embalmers likewise should inspect 
that part of the dead corpse to which his practice was 
confined ; partly to render the operation on the dead 
body more complete, but principally, by an anatomical 
inspection, to benefit the Living. On this account every 
kterment required a number, as their work was to be 
divided in that manner which best suited the ends of 
their inspection. It is true, subsequent superstitions 
might introduce various practices in the division of this 
task amongst the operators, which had no relation to the 
primitive designs. 

Thexe I imagine, concludes our writer, were the office:; 
of the Egyptian physicians, in the early days; there 
were an order of the ministers of religion. He then 
employs some pages (pp. 361 364) to prove that the 
Egyptian physicians were an order of Religious ; and the 
whole amount comes to this, that their practice was in 
termixed with superstitions; a circumstance which hath 
attended medicine through all its stages ; and shall bo 
accounted for in the progress of this enquiry. But their 
vfficc cf embalming is likewise much insisted on : for this 
being part of the Egyptian funeral rites, imd funeral rites 
bein jr part of their religion ; the consequence is, that 
these were religious ministers. The physicians had 
iiui ccl the care of embalming; and it was, as we have 
hinted above, a wise designation, if ever there was any ;- 
For, first, it enabled the physicians, as we have ob 
served, to discover something of the causes of the 
&$QLViw VXG-MJ the unlttion-n diseases, which was the dis 
trict of one class; and, secondly, to improve their skill 
bv anatomical enquiries into the cause of the knoicn, 
which was the business of the rest. Pliny expressly says, 
it was the custom of their kings to cause dead bodies to 
be dissected, to find out the origin and nature of dis 
eases; of which he gives a particular instance * : and 

* Crudes [raphanos] Medici suaderit ad colligenda ncria vis - 

eerum. dandos cunrsaie jejunis ese-, atque ita vomitionibus piTeparanf 
nieatum. Tradunt & pruicordiis neccssurium hunc succum : quamiir 
phthisim cordi in.tup inhsrrcnteni, ncn alio potuisse depelli cornpertuin 
Nat Hist. lib. xix. cap. 5. 

}[ 4 


Syncellus, from Manetho, relates, that books of ana 
tomy were written in. the reign of the second king of the 
Thinites. But to make their employment, in a sacred rite, 
*m argument of their being an order of Religious, would 
be just as wise as to make the priests of the church of 
Rome, on account of their administering extreme unction,. 
an order of physicians. But though the learned writer s 
arguments to support his fanciful opinions be thus de 
fective, yet what lie imagined in this case is very true; 
these physicians were properly an order of the ministers 
of religion ; which (though it make nothing for his point, 
for they were still as properly, physicians) I shall now* 
shew by better arguments than those of system-makers, 
the testimonies of antiquity. In the most early times 
of the Egyptian monarchy there was no accurate sepa 
ration of science * into its distinct branches. The scho 
liast on Ptolemy s Tetrabiblus expressly tells us, that 
their ancient writings did not treat separately of medicine, 
astrology, and religion, but of all these together f: and 
Clemens Alexandrinus says, that of forty-two books of 
Mercury, which were the Bible of the Egyptians, six 
and thirty contained all their philosophy; and were to 
be well studied by the several orders of the priesthood, 
which lie before mentions ; the other six, which related 
entirely to medicine, belonged to the tsraropc f o, /. e. such 
as wore the cloak ; and these, as in another place, he 
tells us, were an order of ministers of religion || : and 
even in Greece, the art of medicine being brought thither 
from Egypt, went in partnership, during the first ages, 
with philosophy; though the separation was made long 
before the time which Celsus assigns to it ^f, as we shall 


* See Div. Leg. book i. 

~\ Oi AtyvTnioi #x ioic: plv roe. lizleixcc., Ictia. $t TA 
TeAsj-jKa., otAXa ap 

4. - ovo j 

1. yi. Stro 

, y TK; aAA- tuv igoTroiuyvv -srep 

Fty.w fc^Bg^f, &c. P;rd. 1. iii. c. 2. From this passage we understand, 
that- it. Wris an inferior order of the priesthood which practised physic; 
lor such were those who sacrificed. 

5T I iippocrates Cous, primus quidem ex omnibus memoria digrris 
b studio saientics discilinary luinc searavit. De ^J,ed; L i. Pra?f. 

apentcs isciplinary luinc separavit. 
10 " 


see presently. Thus it appears that these artists were 
properly both priests and physicians, not very unlike 
the monk and friar physicians of the late ages of bar 

Our author now proceeds to the general history of 
physic. Let us see if he be more happy in his imagi- 
Motions here. Wt may ue sure, says lie, the physicians 
practised only surgery till after Homers time.- 
What must we say then to the story of Mclanapus *, 
who learnt the art of physic and divination in Egypt f; 
and cured Prcetus s daughters of an atrabilaire disorder, 
with hellebore, a hundred and fifty years before the Ar- 
gonautic expedition ? But why not till after the time ef 
Homer, who wrote not of his own time, but of the 
Trojan, near three hundred years before ; and this in 
a kind of work which requires decorum, and will not 
suffer a mixture of later or foreign manners to be brought 
into the scene r The writer, therefore^ at least should 
have said, till after the Trojan times. But how is even 
this supported? Why we read in Homer, that their 
AVHOLE art consisted in extracting arrows, healhig 
wounds, and preparing anodynes-, and again, where 
Idomeneus says to Nestor, That one physician is worth a 
many other men, for extracting arrows, and applying 
lenitives to the wound ; 


Homer s speakers rarely talk impertinently. Idomeneus 
is shewing the ,use of a physician in an army : now, 
surely, his use on these occasions consists in healing 
wounds. The poet therefore chose his topic of reconrt- 
mendation with good judgment ; and we may be certain, 
had he spoken of the use of a physician in a peaceable 
city, he had placed it in the art of curing distempers : 
and this is no imagination : we shall see presently that 
he hath in fact done so. In the mean time let me ask, 
what there is in this passage, which in the least intimates 


He adds, we see, to save his credit, ex omnibus mcmoria dignis - 
taking it for granted, that those who were not remembered,, wer^ 
Iiot \vorth remembering. 

* See Div. Leg. book i. 

-j- See note [M] at the en4 of this, 

J ll.xi.ver. 514, 515- 


that the WHOLE art consisted in extracting arrows, and 
applying- anodynes ? But Pliny says so *, who under 
stands Homer to intimate thus much. What then ? Is 
not Homer s poem still remaining; and cannot we see, 
without Pliny, what inference the rules of good sense 
authorize us to draw from the poet s words? The general 
humour of Antiquity, which was strangely superstitious 
with regard to this Father of the poets f, may be some 
excuse for Pliny in concluding so much from his silence ; 
for Homer was their bible; and whatsoever was not read 
therein, nor could be expressly proved thereby, passed with 
them for apocryphal. But let us, whose veneration for 
Homer rises not quite so high, fairly examine the nature 
of his first great work : This, which is an intire scene of war 
and slaughter, gave him frequent occasion to take notice 
of outward applications, but none of internal remedies ; 
except in the history of the pestilence; which being be 
lieved to come in punishment from the Gods, was sup 
posed to submit to nothing but religious atonements: 
not to say, that it was the chirurgical part of healing only 
that could be mentioned with sufficient dignity. The 
Greeks were large feeders, and bitter railers; for which 
excesses, I suppose, Machaon, during the ten years siege, 
administered many a sound emetic and cathartic : but 
these were no proper ornaments for an epic poem. I 
said, his subject did not give him occasion to mention 
Jnward application^; nor was this said evasively, as shall 
BOW be shewn from his second poem, of a more peace 
able turn; which, admitting the mention of that other 
part of the art of medicine, the use of internal remedies, 
lie has therefore spoken in its praise : Helen is brought 
in, giving Tclemachus a preparation of opium ; which, 

* Medic inaTrojanis temporibus clara vuluerum taraen dun- 
taxat remediis. Nat. Ilist. 1. x.Hix.cap. i. Celsus too talks in the 
.sane strain : Quos lumen Ilomerus non in pestilentia, neqiie in 
variis generibus morborum aliquid attulisse auxilii, sed vulneribus. 
tantnmmodo ferro & niedicamentis mederi solitos esse proposuit. 
Ex quo apparet has medicinae solas nb bis esse tentatas, easque 
e=s vetustissimas. J)e Medicina, lib. i. Praef. 

\- Homcrum p.i/ctain multiscium, yel .potius cunctarum rcrum 
fidprime peritt/?n. And a^ain : Ut ontnis i~etiistatis ccrtissimus aitc or 
Ilomerus docet. This was said by Apuleius, a very celebrated pla- 
tonic philosopber, in a juridical defence of bimself before a proconsul 
of -Africa. 



(he poet tells us, she had from Polydamna,. the wife of 
Thon. the Egyptian, whose country abounded with me 
dicinal drugs, many of which were salubrious, and many 
baneful ; whence the physicians of that land were more 
skilful than the rest of mankind. 

Tola AJO? Suyarflp *% qnzpfAaxot //.sljcfvlos, 
EfrO/.a, roi ol TloXv^x^ix, -zrogtv (dwv* -&txjictx.oflig 
AIFTriTIH, -TV TzrAelra Qspsi ^t/Jwp^* apzpcs, 

a ot 

* yap RKWGVGS tin y 

Here then is an express testimony much earlier than the 
time of Homer, for the Egyptian physicians practising 
more than surgery : which was the thing to be proved. 

Our author goes on : Li the days of Pythagoras the 
learned began to form rules of diet j or the preservation 
of heal in., and to prescribe in this point to sick persons. 
This is -bunded on the rules of diet observed in the 
Pythagoric school. There seems to be something 
strangeK perverse in this writer s way of arguing ; In 
the "case of the Egyptian regimen, though it be expressly 
delivered by the Greek writers as a medicinal one, yet 
by reason of some superstitions in it, our author will 
have i to be a religious observance ; on the contrary, 
this Pythagoric regimen, though it be generally repre 
sented, and even by Jambhchus himself, as a superstitious, 
practice, yet by reason of its healtlifulhess, lie Will have 
to be a course of physic. 

I le proceed s : II JPPOCRATES began- 1 he practice of 
visiting sick-bed patients, and prescribed medicmes with 
success for their distempers. For which, Pliny is again 
quoted ; who does indeed say he was the founder of the 
clinic sect : but it is strange he should say so; since 
Hippocrates himself, in numerous places of his writings, 
has informed us that it was founded long before. His 
tract De diceta in acutis begins in this manner : <c Those 
" who have collected what we call the CXIDIAN SEN- 
" TENCES, have accurately enough registered the va- 

* Odyss. lib; iv. ver. 227, Be seq. Clarke on this place of Homer 
observes that Pliny, lib. xxv. c. j. quotes this passage as ascribing 
n knowledge of medicinal herbs to the Egyptians before Lower Egypt 
was inhabited. 

" rious 


" rious symptoms or affections in the several distempers, 
" with the causes of some of them : thus far might 
" be well performed by a writer who was no physician, 
tt if so it were, that he carefully examined each pa- 
" tient about his several affections. But what a phy- 
" sician should previously be well instructed in, and 
" what he cannot learn from his patient, that, for the 
" most part, is omitted in this work < some things in this 
" place, others in that; several of which are very 
" useful to be known in the art of judging by signs. As 
" to what is said of judging by signs, or how the cure 
" should be attempted, I think very differently from 
" them. And it is not in this particular only that they 
" have not my approbation : I as little like their prac- 
u lice in using so small a number of medicines ; for the 
" greatest part they mention, except in acute distempers, 
" are purgatives, and whey, and milk for the time : 
" indeed, were these medicines proper for the distempers 
4< to which they direct them to be applied, I should think 
" them worthy of double praise for being able to attain 
" their purpose so easily. But this I do not appre- 
" hcnd to be the case : however, those who have since 
" revised and new-modelled these sentences, have shewn 
" much more of the physician in their prescriptions*." 
From this long passage we may fairly draw these con 
clusions : 1 . That there was a physic-school at Cniclus : 
this appears from the sentences collected under its 
name. 2. That the Cnidiail school was derived from 
the Egyptian : this appears from their sole use of eva- 
euants, in all but acute distempers. 3. That it was 

TU<; KNIAIAE aXESft/m? rNflMAE, oxoTae, p\v 
iv sxarourt TX v&avu.aTuv, tpfiw; typa-i^av, t 

N ,/ ^ n, \ \ > /I \ ,\ V O fl ~ 

M K. api /*> vttlftit Kj {**) Mjif*{ &v ov*Qnlo opoitis 
it tu Grct^a, rut x.a.fA.voHuv lxar tyv^Q^cclo^ oy.oTa. Ut?q,ff%pffi* 
tv oeT rov l-flgov, py !\iyo|?0f T xa^vovl-, Ttfleuv TO, 
if ciAAoic*!, x^ iirixcu^ct ma loflx t$ ri 

s 5 Tixfta.f(7W haycti we, ^v) tHM/Tf* irflgivuy, iv TffnO 
;vwcrxft/, n us IXMVGJ nrti ir.o O .-f x^ povdv out TZTO yx 

rev a^tOp .cji ToT&m otKiitriv i%fBofio Tot, yeit> <&ht 
, ttX>jv Tut o^ikuv tzcruiif ^a^axa lAal /jgia o^otctt> 
15 fnv vw pi Tr iaKsiv ^v (JLSV &n ravra, ayatdct r v, x^ a 

civ <i|t 
MEX rot 



now of considerable standing: having had a reform in 

O * rt 

the teaching of more able practitioners. 4. And lastly, 

which is most to the point, that the physicians of this 

school were of the dinic sect ; it being impossible they 

should compose such a work as Hippocrates here cri^ 

licizes, without a constant attendance on the sick-bed : 

and therefore Hippocrates was not the founder of this 

sect, as Pliny, and our author after him, supposed. 

But, for the established state of physic, its study as an 

art, and its practice as a profession, when Hippocrates 

made so superior a figure, we have the full evidence of 

Herodotus, his contemporary ; who tells us, that in the 

time of Darius Hystaspis the physic school at Crotona 

Tias esteemed by the Greeks first in reputation ; and 

that, at Gyrene, second * ; which both implies, that 

these were of considerable standing, and that there were 

many others : and if GALEN may be believed, who, 

though a late writer, was yet a very competent judge, there 

were many others -j* : so that Hippocrates was so far 

from being the first that visited sick-beds, and prescribed 

with success in distempers, that he was not even the first 

amongst the Greeks. - The truth of the matter is this, 

the divine old man (as his disciples have been wont to 

call him) so greatly eclipsed all that went before him, 

that, as posterity esteemed his works the canon, so they 

esteemed him the father of medicine : And this was the 

humour of antiquity. The same eminence in poetry 

made them regard Homer as the founder of his art, 

though they who penetrate into the perfection of his com 

positions, understand that nothing is more unlikely. 

But what is strange in this matter is, that -the writer 

, should think it evidence enough to bring in Pliny speaking 

of Hippocrates as the first amongst the Greeks who 

prescribed to sick-beds with success, for the confutation 

of Herodotus (contemporary with Hippocrates) in what 

.he says of the pharmaceutic part of medicine, as an 

ancient practice in Egypt. 

But all the writer s errors in this discourse seem to 
proceed from a wrong assumption, that the dietetic 

* lyfotlo yct ttv TbTo art Br^uJroi /AIC Kgo1tfMjTfl l-fig 

i hen, toffatyi $e, KvprivotTqt. lib. Hi. C. 131. 
Weth. Medendi, lib. i. * 



medicine was, in order of time, before the pharma- 
ceutic : and the greater simplicity of the first method 
seems to have led him into this mistake : In the days 
oj Pythagoras , says he, the learned fagantofortii rules 
of diet for the preservation of health ; and in this con 
sisted the practice of the ancient Indian physicians ; 
they endeavoured to cure distempers by a diet regimen, 
but they gave no physic. Hippocrates bcg<<n the prac 
tice of visiting sick-bed patients* and prescribed medi 
cines with success for their disteinpers. This, / think, 
was the progress of physic. I hold the matter to be 
just otherwise ; and that, of the three parts of medicine, 
the --CHI.RU.RG ic, the PHARMACEUTIC, and the DIE 
TETIC; the dietetic was the la_vt in use ; as the chirurgic 
was, in all likelihood, the first. In the early ages of 
long life and temperance, men were still subject to the 
common accidents of wounds, bruises, and dislocations ; 
this would soon raise surgery into an ait : agreeably 
to this supposition, we may observe, that Sextus Em- 
piricus derives lolpo?, a physician, from 10?, a dart or 
arrow ; the first attack upon the human species being 
of this more violent sort. Nor was pharmacy so far 
behind as some may imagine ; nature itself often eases a 
too great repletion by an extraordinary evacuation ; this 
natural remedy (whose good effects as they are imme 
diately felt, are easily understood) would teach men to 
i seek an artificial one, when nature was not at hand to 
relieve. But the very earlv invention of pharmacy is 
further sen from that superstition of antiquity, which 
tnade medicine the gift of the Gods. For, what me 
dicine do they mean ? It could not be setting a frac 
ture, or closing the lips of a wound ; much less a re 
gular diet. It could be nothing then but pharmacy ; and 
this, both in the invention and operation, had all the 
advantages for making its fortune : First, it was not the 
- issue of study, but of chance; the cause of which is out 
of sight : but what men understand not, they generally 
ascribe to superior agency. It was believed, even so 
late as the tirne of Alexander *, that the Gods continued 
ito enrich the physical dispensatory. Secondly, there 
was something as extraordinary in the operation as in 
* Cicero de Divin. lib, ii. c. 66, 



the invention. Pharmacy is divided into the two general 
classes of evacuants and alteratives ; the most efficacious, 
of these latter, commonly called Specijics^ not working 
by any visible effects of evacuation, do their business 
like a charm. Thus, as the general notion of the divine 
original of medicine made the patient very superstitious *, 
so the secret operation of alteratives inclined the prac- 
tiser to the same imbecility. Hence it is that so much 
of this folly hath overrun the art of medicine in all ages. 
Now the bestowing the origin of pharmacy in this manner, 
is abundantly sufficient to prove its high antiquity ; for 
the Ancients gave nothing to the Gods of whose original 
they had any records : but where the memory of the 
invention was lost, as of seed-corn, wine, writing, civil 
society, Sec. there, the Gods seized the property, by 
that kind of right, which gives strays to the lord of the 
manor -f- . 

But now the diaetetic medicine had a very low original, 
: and a well-known man for its author ; a man worth a 
whole dozen of heathen gods, even the great HIPPO 
CRATES himself: and thia we learn from the surest 
evidence, his own writings. In his tract de Veteri Me- 
dichw, he expressly suys, that MEDICINE was esta 
blished from the most early times J ; meaning, as the 
context shews, Pharmacy : but where he speaks soon 
alter in the same tract of the dicetetic medicine (which 
he calls ri^-n * 7^xi?, as the pharmaceutic above, fl/xi} 
substantiveiy) he says, the ART OF MEDICINE. WAS 
neither found out in the most early times, nor sought 
after ||. And in his de diata in acutis, he tells us, That 
the ancients (meaning all who had preceded him) wrote 
nothing of diet worthy notice ; and that, notwithstanding 

* Diis primum inventores sues assignavit, & ccelo dicavit ; riec- 
uon & hodie multifariam ab oraculis medicina petitur. Pliu. N. II. 
4. xxix. Procem. 

f The Rabbins, amongst their other pagan conceits, -adopted this- 
and taught that God himself instructed Adam in the art of medicine ; 
" Et ductug Adam per omnes Paradisi semitas vidit ornue lignum, 
" arboies, plantas, &. lapides, & docuit eum Dominus omiiein na- 
" turain eorum, ad sananditin omnem dolorem & iniirmitatem." 
R. Ebenezra. Which, however, shews their opinion, of the high 
Antiquity of the art. 

f T$t*r^$t &?{& vjochou itooiti. C. iii. ^ 

I$PM } vr * t^rr^, eap.-V. 



it IMS a matte r of vast moment, they had intirdif 
tmttted it y although, they were not ignorant of the nu 
merous subii roisiom into the species oj distempers, nor of 
the various shapes and appearances of each *. Hence it 
appears, that, before the time of Hippocrates, the vi 
siting of sick-beds and prescribing medicines were in 
practice; but that the dietetic medicine, as an art, 
was intirelv unknown : so that had Pliny called Hippo 
crates the author of this, instead of the founder of the 
clinic sect, he had come much nearer to the truth. 

Kut without this evidence we might reasonably con* 
elude, even from the nature of the thing, thct the die 
tetic was the latest effort of the art of medicine. For, 
i. The cure it performs is slow and tedious, and con 
sequently it would not be thought of, at least not 
employed, till the quick and powerful- operation of the 
pharmaceutic (which is therefore most obvious to use) 
had been found to be ineffectual. 2. To apply the 
dkrtctic medicine, with any degree of safety or success, 
there is need of a thorough knowledge of the animal 
economy, and of its many various complexions ; with 
long experience in the nature and qualities of aliments, 
and their different effects on different habits and consti 
tutions f. But the art of medicine must have made 
some considerable progress before these acquirements 
were to be expected in its professors. 

If I have been longer than ordinary on this subject, it 
should be considered, that the clearing up the state of 
the Egyptian medicine is a matter of importance; for if 
the practice, in the time of Joseph, was what the Greek 

aJi a^to Xoytf, xa* 

o; iy.fuv Gfacx<yiir i rsu, HlppOCr. de 



writers represent it, as I think I have shewn it was, 
then this topic seems absolutely decisive for the high an 
tiquity of Egypt; and the learned person s hypothesis 
lying in my way, it was incumbent on me to re 
move it. 

IV. We come, in the last place, to the FUNERAL 
RITES of Egypt; which Herodotus describes in this 
manner : u Their mournings and rites of sepulture are 
" of this kind : When any considerable person in the 
" family dies, all the females of that family besmear 
" their heads or faces with loam and mire; and so, 
" leaving the dead body in the hands of the domestics, 
" march in procession through the city, with their gar- 
" ments close girt about them, their breasts laid open, 
" beating themselves ; and all their Relations attending. 
" In an opposite procession appear the males, close 
f( girt likewise, and undergoing the same discipline. 
" When this is over, they carry the body to be salted : 
" there are men appointed for this business, who make 
" it their trade and employment : They first of all draw 
** out the brain, with a hooked iron, through the nostrils, 
" fyc. after this they hide it in nitre for the space of 
u SEVENTY DAYS, and longer it is not lawful to keep 
" it salted*/ Diodorus agrees with Herodotus in all 
the essential circumstances of mourning and embalming. 
In this last he seems to vary in one particular: " They 
" then anoint the whole body with the gum or resin of 
" cedar, and of other plants, with great cost and care, 
" for ABOVE THIRTY DAYS; and afterwards seasoning 
" it with myrrh, cinnamon, and other spices, not only 
" proper to preserve the body for a long time, but to 
" give it a grateful odour, they deliver it to the rela- 

o\ xj rot/pott fftyiuv, tl&i ales Toicr* av aTroysvJloti Ix Tut 
f>ly.r, iav a^w^r^*, T Tt? x^ Aoy- 15, TO Srjhv ylv<& t vsciv TO ix. rut otjc#* 
uv tTrhoipotlo ri} xifyotfwt -OTTJ^W >? x^ TO 
hi7rya.i tov VSKQQV, ai/reci otva, TJJV cro 

lev/at \Trz^ug-^,ivon t t (poiivxyen TS?? jtxa^af;* Quv oe ffQt otl 
tvoi(ra.i. l-ri^u^tv $\ ol avfyts TutritvloU) Ifn^uff^ivfn tC-, zroi iKta-v at 
voivTa, -nroi^wc-t, TW I? T*3r rccfi^tvatv xopiQio-i. EJcrt $1 ot lit otvra 
TUTU * xoAletlou, xj ts^vvtv f^ticn rcciirviv. ttrpuTO, pin crxcXtw ff^y^a OH* 
TUV f/,v%ul*)(:uv l^ayifcri TOP Eyxs^aXov, ^fC. - Tct-vrct 

u. lib. ii. cap. 85, 86. 

VOL. IV, I <c tions^ 

1 14 THE DIVINE LEGATION [Book I\ r . 

" tions*," 8$c. All this operose circumstance of em 
balming, scripture history confirms and explains; and 
not only so, but reconciles the seemingly different 
accounts of the two Greek writers, concerning the num 
ber of days, during which the body remained with the 
embalmers: " And the physicians," says Moses, " em- 
" bahned Israel; and FORTY DAYS were fulfilled for 
" him (for so are fulfilled the days of those which are 
" embalmed) and the Egyptians mourned for him 


from the two Greek historians, that the time of mourn 
ing was while the body remained with the embalmers, 
which Herodotus tells us was seventy days : this ex 
plains why the Egyptians mourned for Israel threescore 
and ten days. During this time the body lay in nitre ; 
the use of which was to dry up all its superfluous and 
noxious moisture J; and when, in the compass of thirty 
days, this was reasonably well effected, the remaining 
forty, the l<f vptyus zrAf/sr ruv rpiotxofa of Diodorus, 
were employed in anointing it with gums and spices to 
preserve it, which was the proper embalming. And 
this, explains the meaning of the forty days which were 
fulfilled for Israel, being the days of those that are 
embalmed. Thus the two Greek writers are reconciled ; 
and they and Scripture mutually explained and sup 
ported by one another. 

But if it should be said, that though MOSES here 
mentions embalming, yet the practice was not so com 
mon as the Greek historians represent it, till many ages 
after; I reply, that the company of Ishmaelitish mer 
chants with their camels bearing spicery, balm, and 
my nil, to carry down into Egypt ||, clearly shews, that 
embalming was at this time become a general practice. 

On the whole, what stronger evidence can any one 
require of a rich and powerful monarchy, than what 

i) povov tzohvy ffiovov rvigur, A^a x^ rw 
Sig*8wojr1iy, naA^ot^oxyi fo7q rvyftHCrtt Lib. i. Bibl. p. 58. 
-f Gen. 1. 2, 3. 
j TJ $i c-cifKois TO mpw xottaTwth Hcrodot. p. 119, 
jl Gen. xxxvii, 25, 



hath been here given? Scripture describes Egypt un 
der that condition, in the times of the Patriarchs, and 
the egression of their posterity : the Greek writers not 
only subscribe to this high antiquity, but support their 
testimony by a minute detail of customs and manners 
then in use, which could belong only to a large and well 
policied kingdom; and these again are distinctly con 
firmed by the circumstantial history of MOSES. 

But it is not only in what they agree, but likewise in 
what they differ, that sacred and. profane accounts are 
mutually supported, and the high antiquity of Egypt 
established. To give one instance: Diodorus V 
tells us, that the lands were divided between the king, the 
priests, and the soldiery *; and MOSES (speaking of the 
Egyptian famine and its effects) as expressly says, that 
they were divided between the king, the priests, "and the 
people^. Now as contrary as these two accounts look, 
it will be found, upon comparing them, that Diodorus 
fully supports all that MOSES hath delivered concerning 
this matter. MOSES tells us, that before the famine, 
all the lands of Egypt were in the hands of the k!fi, the 
priests, and the people ; but that this national calamity 
made a great revolution in property, and brought the 
whole possessions of the people into the king s hands ; 
xvhich must needs make a prodigious accession of power 
to the crown. But Joseph, in whom the offices of 
minister and patriot supported each other, and jointly 
concurred to the public service];, prevented for some 
time the ill effects of this accession, by his farming out 
the new domain to the old proprietors, on very easy 
conditions. We may well suppose this wise disposition 
to continue till that new kbig arose, who knew not Jo 
seph || ; that is, would obliterate his memory, as averse 
to his system of policy^". He, as appears from Scrip 
ture, greatly affected a despotic government; to support 

L. i. Bill. f Gen. xlvii* 

J See note [N] at the end of this Book. |] Exod. i. 8. 

^[ In this sense is the phrase frequently used in Scripture, as 
Judges ii. 10. " And there arose another generation after them, 
" which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done 
" for Israel," Here, knew not t can only signify despised, set at 

I 2 which, 


which, he first established, as I collect, a standing mi 
litia; and endowed it with the lands formerly the peo 
ple s; who now became a kind ol Villains to this order, 
which resembled the Zairns andTimariots of the Turkish 
empire: and were obliged to personal service: this, and 
the priesthood, being the orders of nobility in this power 
ful empire ; and so considerable they were, that out of 
either of them, indifferently, as we observed before, 
their kings were taken and elected. Thus the property 
of Egypt became at length divided in the manner, the 
Sicilian relates : and it is remarkable, that from this 
time, and not till now, we hear in Scripture of a stand 
ing militia*, and of the king s six hundred chosen 
chariots, &c. 


HAVING thus proved the high antiquity of Egypt 
from the concurrent testimony of sacred and profane 
history; I go on, as I proposed, to evince the same from 
internal evidence; taken from the original use of their so 
much celebrated HIEROGLYPHICS. 

But to give this argument its due force, it will be ne 
cessary to trace up hieroglyphic writing to its original; 
which a general mistake concerning its primeval use hath 
rendered extremely difficult. The mistake I mean, is 
that which makes "the hieroglyphics to be invented by 
the Egyptian priests, in order to hide and secrete their 
wisdom from the knowledge of the vulgar |: a mistake 
which hath involved this part of ancient learning in much 
obscurity and confusion. 

Men soon found out two ways of communicating their 
thoughts to one another; the first by SOUNDS, and the 
second by FIGURES: for there being frequent occasion 
to have their conceptions either perpetuated, or com 
municated at a distance, the way of figures or charac 
ters was next thought upon, after sounds (which were 
momentary and confined), to make their conceptions 
lasting and extensive. 

* Exod. xiv. 8, 9. 

f See note [O] at the end of this Book. 



The first and most natural way of communicating our 
thoughts by marks or figures, is by tracing out the 
images of things. So the early people, to express the 
idea of a man or horse, delineated the form of those 
animals. Thus the first essay towards writing was a 
mere picture. 

I. We see an example of this amongst the MKXICAXS, 
whose onlv method of recording their laws -and history, was 

V */ * 

by a picture-writing*. (Joseph Acosta)tells us, that, when 
the inhabitants of the sea s~Hore 7 scht expresses to Mon- 
tezuma with ncw r s of the first appearance of the Spanish 
navy on their coasts, the advices were delineated in large 
paintings, upon cloth -f. The same writer gives us, 
in another place, a more particular account of this 
sort of painting : " One of our company of Jesus (says 
" he) a man of much experience and discern merit, as- 
" sembled in the province of Mexico the Ancients of 
" Tuscuco, Tulla, and Mexico ; who, in a long con- 
" ference held with him, shewed him their records, his- 
" tories, and calendars ; tilings very worthy notice, as 
containing their figures and hieroglyphics, by which 
" they painted their conceptions in the following manner : 
" tilings that have a bodily shape were represented by 
( * their proper figures ; and those which have none, by 
" other significative characters : and thus they writ or 
" painted every thins; they had occasion to express. 
" For my own satisfaction I had the curiosity to inspect 
" a paternoster, an avemaria, the creed, and a general 

* In difietto di lettere usarono gl ini-egnosi Mexicani figure, e 
Geroglifici, per significar le cose corporee, cbe ban figura; e per lo 
rimanente, altri caratteri propri : e in tal modo segnavano, a pro 
della posieritii, tutte le cose accadute. Per ragion d esemplo per 
significare Y entrata degli Spagnuoli dipinsero un* uomo col cappello, 
e colla veste rossa, nel segno di Canna ch era proprio di quell anno. 
Giro dftl Mondo del Uottor D. Gio Fr. Gemelli Careri, torn, sesto. 
Ar. Nuova Spagna. cap:vi. p. 37. 

f Quando era caso de importancia lleuauana a los Senores de 
Mexico pintado el negocio de que les quenan informar; como lo 
hizieron quando aparecieron los primercs navios de Espanoles, y 
quando fueron a tomar aTopcnchan. Acosta s Hist, of the indies, 
Madr. 1608. 4to. lib. vi. cap. 10. Con este recado fueron a Mexico 
los de la costa Ileuando pintado en unos panos todo quantn auian 
visto, y los navios, y hombres, y su figura, y juntamente las piedras 
que les auieo dado. Lib. vii. cap. 24. 

13. * confes- 


<c confession*, written in this manner by the Indians: 
To signify these words, la sinner confess my*elf> 
u they painted an Indian on his knees before a religious in 
" the act of one confessing ; and then for this, To God 
" almighty, they painted three faces adorned uith 
" crowns, representing the Trinity ; and, To the glo- 
" rious virgin Mary, they delineated the visage of our 
" Lady, with half a body, and the infant in her arms; 
(( To St. Peter and St. Paul, tuo heads irradiated, 
together with the keys and sword, &c. In Peru I 
" have seen an Indian bring to the confessional a con* 
" fession of all his sins written in the same way, by pic- 
" ture and characters; portraying every one of the ten 
" commandments after a certain manner }*." 

There is yet extant a very curious specimen of this Ame 
rican picture-writing, made by a Mexican author: and 
deciphered by him in that language, after the Spaniards 
had taught him letters ; the explanation was afterwards 
translated into Spanish, and, from thence, into English. 
Purchas has given us this work engraved, and the ex- 
planatons annexed. The manner of its coming into his 

* Acosta s words are, y syrnbolo y la confession general ; which 
Purchas has translated, and symbol or general confession of our faith. 
This is wrong ; by la confession general is meant a general confession 
of sins, a formulary very different from the creed. 

t Una de los de nuestra Compania de Jesus, hombre muy platico 
y diestro, junto en la provincia de Mexico a los Ancianos de Tuscuco, y 
deTulla, y de Mexico, y confirio mucho con olios, y le rnonstraron sus 
Librerias, y sus Historias, y Kalendarios, cosa mucho de Ver. Porque 
tenian sur figuras, y Hieroglyficas con que pintauam los cosas en esta 
forma, que los cosas que tenian figuras, las poniancon sus propriasYma- 
gines, y para las cosas que no auia Ymagen propria tenian otros carac- 
teres significatiuos de acquello, y con este modo figurauam quanto 
queriam e yo he visto para satisfazerme en estaparte, las Qraciones 
del Pater Noster, y Ave Maria, y Symbolo, y la Confession genera], en 

el modo dicho de Indios. -Para significar Aquella palabra, Yo pe- 

cador me conjicsso, pintan un Indio hincado de rodillas a los pies de 
un Religioso ; como que se confiessa ; y luego para aquella, A Dios 
todo podcroso, pintan tres caras con sus coronas, al modo de la 
Trinidad; y a la gloriosa Virgen Maria, pintan un rostro de nuestra 
Senora, y medio cuerpo con un Nino ; y a San Pedro y a San Pablo, 
dos cabecas con coronas, y unas llaues, y una espada. Por la misma, 
forma de pinturas y canicteres vi en el Piru escrite la confession 
que de todos sus pecados un Indio traya para confessarse. Pin- 
dando cada uno de los diez mandamientos por cierto modo. Lib. 
vi. cap. 7. i 




). ro7.1V. 



o U 



H i 


hands is curious *. It is in three parts ; the first is a 
history of the Mexican empire ; the second, a tribute-roll 
of the several tributes which each conquered town or pro 
vince paid into the royal treasury ; and the third, a digest 
of their civil law, the largest branch of which was, cle 
jure patrio. 

This was the first, and most simple way of recording 
their conceptions f ; obvious to every one, and common 
not only to the North as well as South Americans, but 
to all mankind J. 

* " Reader, I here present thee with the choicest of my jewels, 

" &c. a politic, ethic, ecclesiastic, economic history, with just 

" distinction of time. The Spanish governor having, with some dif- 
" ficulty, obtained the book of the Indians, with Mexican interpre- 
" tations of the pictures (but ten days before the departure of the 
" ships) committed the same to one skilful in the Mexican language, 
" to be interpreted ; who in a very plain style, and verbatim, per- 
" formed the same. This history thus written, sent to Charles V. 
" emperor, was, together with the ship that carried it, taken by 
" French men of war ; from whom Andrew Thevet, the French 
" king s geographer, obtained the same. After whose death master 
" Hakluyt (then chaplaine to the English embassadour in France) 
" bcught the same for twenty French crowns ; and procured master 
" Michael Locke, in Sir Walter Raleigh s name, to translate it. 
" It seems that none were willing to be at the cost of cutting the 
* pictures, and so it remained amongst his papers till his death : 
" whereby (according to his last will in that kind) I became pos- 
" sessour thereof, and have obtained, with much earnestness, the 
" cutting thereof for the press." Purchases Pilgr. 3d part, p. 1065, 
1066. [See Plate I.] 

-j- Quant aux caracteres, ils n en avoient point : et ils y suppleoient 
par des especes d hieroglyphes. Charlevoix of the Northern Ame 
ricans, vol. v. p. 292. Lafitau gives us a specimen of these hie 
roglyphics. [See Plate II.] 

J The same kind of characters Stahlenberg found upon rocks in 
Siberia in the province of Permia, and near the river Jenesei. Of 
which he has given a drawing. [See Plate III.] The author De 
vet. lit. Hunn. Scyth. p. 15. seems to admire this natural expres 
sion of things, as some uncommon stretch of invention. Miratus 
" ego saspe fui caupones idiotas (nempe in Hungaria) istis, quibus 
" aliquid credere hujusmodi ficto charactere inter debitores non 
** adscribere tantum, sed longioris etiam temporis intervallo post, 
" non secus, quam si alphabethario scribendi genere adnotati fuis- 
" sent, promere, debitamque summarn & rationes indicare potuisse ; 
" ita si debitor miles est, rudi quadam linea frameam aut pugionem 
" pingebant ; si faber, malleum aut securim : si auriga, flagrum, 
" atque sic porro." 

I 4 II. But 



But the inconveniencies attending the too great bulk 
of the volume in writings of this kind, would soon set the 
more ingenious and better civilized people upon con 
triving methods to abridge their characters : and of all 
the improvements of this kind, that which was invented 
by the EGYPTIANS, and called HIEROGLYPHICS, was 
by far the most celebrated. By this contrivance, that 
writing, which amongst the Mexicans was only a simple 
painting, became in Egypt a pictured character*. 

This abridgment was of three kinds ; and, as appears 
from the more or less art employed in the contrivance 
of each, made by due degrees ; and at three different 

1 . The first way was, To make the principal circum 
stance in the subject stand for the whole. Thus when 
they would describe a battle, or two armies in array, 
they painted (as we learn from that admirable fragment 
of antiquity, the hieroglyphics of Horapollo) two hands, 
one holding a shield, and the other a bow f ; when a 
tumult, or popular insurrection, an armed man casting 
arrows J ; when a siege, a scaling ladder ||. This was 
of the utmost simplicity; and, consequently, we must 
suppose it the earliest way of turning painting into an 
hieroglyphic; that is, making it a picture-character. 
And this is what we shall hereafter distinguish by the 

2. The second, and more artful method of contrac 
tion, was by putting the instrument of the thing, whether 
real or metaphorical, for the thing itself. Thus an eye, 
eminently placed, was designed to represent God s 
omniscience ^[ ; an eye and sceptre, to represent a mo 
narch ** ; a sword, their cruel tyrant Ochus ft : an d a 
ship and pilot, the governor of the universe +J. And 
Ithis is what we shall call the TROPICAL HIEROGLY 

* See Plate IV. 

f Horapoll. Hierogl. lib. ii. cap. 5. Ed. Corn. De Pauw, Traj. 
ad Rhen. 1727. 410. 

J Id. 1. ii. c. 12. || Id. 1. ii. c. 28. 

1T Clem. Alex. Strom. 1. v. ** Plutarch. Is. & Osir. ft Id - ib. 

JJ Jamblichus. See note [P] at the end of this Book. 

3. Their 


,***?.X\J^:. .-.._. -. ;..<;..; ^^- 


3. Their third, and still more artificial method of 
abridging picture-writing, was, by making one thing to 
stand for, or represent another, where any quaint re 
semblance or analogy, in the representative, could be 
collected from their observations of nature, or their tra 
ditional superstitiom. And this was their SYMBOLIC 


Sometimes it was founded in their observations on the 
form, or on the real or imaginary natures and qualities, 
of Beings. Thus the universe was designed by a serpent 
in a circky whose variegated spots signified the stars * ; 
and the sun-rise by the two eyes of the crocodile, because 
they seem to emerge from its head -f- ; a widow who 
never admits a second mate, by a black pigeon ; one 
dead of a fever, contracted by the over great solar heat, 
by a blind scarabceus \\ ; a client flying for relief to his 
patron, and finding none, by a sparrow and owl ^f ; a 
king inexorable, and estranged from his people, by an 
eagle ** ; a man who exposes his children through po 
verty, by an hawk ff ; a wife who hates her husband, 
or children who injure their mother, by a viper |:|:; one 
initiated into the mysteries, and so under the obligation 
of secrecy, by a grashopper || ||, which was thought to 
have no mouth. 

Sometimes again, this kind of hieroglyphic was de 
rived from the popular superstition. Thus he who had 
borne his misfortunes with courage, and had at length 
surmounted them, was signified by the hyawa ^[, be 
cause the skin of that animal, used as a defence in battle, 
was supposed to make the wearer fearless and invul 

But it is not from analogy alone (the force of which 
will be seen more fully as we proceed), nor yet from 
the nature of the thing only (which in these enquiries is 
indeed the safest guide), that we conclude the hiero 
glyphics now described to be an improvement of an 
earlier picture-writing used by the Egyptians, and re- 

* Horap. Hierogl. 1. i. c. 2. t L- i. c. 6& J L. ii. c. 32. 

|J L. ii. c. 41. 1f L. ii. c. 51. ** L. ii. c. 56. 

ft L. ii. c. 99. JJ L. ii. c. 59 & 60. |||| L. ii. c. 55. 
1T1T L. ii. c. 72. 



sembling that of the Americans. Ancient history records 
the fact. We are told, in that exquisite fragment of 
Sanchoniatho, preserved by Eusebius, that " the God 
" Taautus, having imitated Ouranus s art of picture- 
tf writing *, drew the portraits of the Gods Cronus, 
" Dagon, and the rest, and delineated the sacred cha- 
" ractcrs which formed the elements of this kind of wri- 
" ting -f- : for Cronus, particularly, he imagined these 
l{ symbols of royalty, four eyes, two before, and two 
" behind ; of which, two were closed in slumber ; and 
" on his shoulders four wings, two stretched out, as in 
C the act of flight, and two contracted, as in repose. 
" The first symbol signified that Cronus watched though 
" he reposed, and reposed though he watched ; the 
" second symbol of the wings signified, in like manner, 
" that even when stationed he flew about, and, when 
" flying, he yet remained stationed. To each of the 
" other Gods he gave two wings on their shoulders |, as 
" the Satellites of Cronus in his excursions ; who had 
" likewise two wings on his head, to denote the two 
" principles of the mind, reason and passion \\. n Here 
we see that Ouranus practised a kind of picture-writing, 
which Taautus afterwards improved : Taautus, or Thoth, 
was the Egyptian Mercury ; on which name and family 
all the inventions of the various kinds of writing were 

t The original is, Ilf o $i TXTUV so$ TaaulO* /xt/-nj<ra//.ev- TO* 
which Vigerus thus translates, Taautus vero Dcus cum jam ante, 
imaginem effinxisset ; and Cumberland, JB 6e/brc Mcse things the 
god Taautus hating formerly imitated or represented Ouranus .- This 
is wrong, ^y^ya.^^ TOV Ovgavov signifies here, imitating the art, or 
practice, or example of Ouranus; not painting his figure. So Plu 
tarch, de Fort. Alex. H^axX/a MIMOYMAI xj n^vta, faa. 

f See note [Q] at the end of this Book. 

J Conformably to this account, the Etruscans and Greeks occa 
sionally gave wings to the Images of all their Deities. 

|| Flgo &) TZTUV - Taa-vl^ ^pjaa/^ir- TOV Qvpctvov, TUV Stov p^^ti 
K.0 T x^ Aayo/v-, xj TUV hotTrui oi&iv Kuo iv T&S *e5 TUV rot%**a>* 

TUV ll/.TTPOffvlUV Xj TUV OTFlffoHJV tASpUt* OVO VlffWYp U,VoflCCj Xj EWt TW 

\.Wf, * 

ort avawavo^tEi VIa%> tu tTrla^ev* uvtituvslo TOK o 
" y/*ala swt T^v W/AWV, <y$ ort ^ trvvivlctvlo TU 

T>5$ etifffaffivs. Praep. Evang, 1, i. c. 10. 



very liberally bestowed : this, here mentioned, as the im 
provement of Taautus, being the very hieroglyphics above 
described : and that, as before practised by Quranus, 
the same with the simple American paintings. 

Such then was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic * ; 
and this the second mode of invention for record ing men s 
actions and conceptions ; not, as hath been hitherto 
thought, a device of choice for secrecy, but an expe^ 
dient of necessity, for popular use. 


But the obscurity which attended the scantiness of 
hieroglyphic characters, joined to the enormous bulk of 
picture volumes, set men upon contriving a third change 
in this kind of writing : of which the CHINESE have given 
us a famous example. 

We have just observed, that the ancient Egyptian 
hieroglyphic was an improvement on a yet more ancient 
manner, resembling the rude picture-writing of the 
Mexicans; and that it joined contracted and arbitrarily 
instituted marks to images. The CHINESE writing at 
length went still further; it threw out the images, and 
retained only the marks ; which they increased to a pro 
digious number. In this writing, every distinct idea 
has its proper mark ; and is, like every real character, 
whether formed by analogy or institution, common to 
divers neighbouring nations, of different languages -^. 


* See note [R] at the end of this Book. 

f pero lo que se escrive en elia, en todas las lenguas se en- 
tiende, porque aunque las Provincias HO se entienden de palabra 
unaes a otras, mas por escrito si, porque las letras o figuras son unas 
mism is para todos, y significan lo mismo, mas no tinen el mismo 
nombre ni prolacion, porque como he dicho son para denotar cosasf 
y no palabras, assi como en el exemplo de los numeros de gu-trismo 
que puse, se puede facilmente entender. De aqui tambien prorede, 
que fiendo los Japones y Chinas, Naciones y lenguas tam differentes 
leen y entendien los unos las escrituras de los otros ; y si hablas sen 
lo que leen, o escriven, poco ni mucho no se entenderian K>tas 
pues son las letras y libros que usan los Chinos tan atamados en el 
mundo, &c. Acosta, lib. vi. cap. 5. 

Les Caracteres de la Cochinchine, du Tongking, du Japon sont 
les memes que ceux de la Chine, & signifient les monies c hoses, sans 
toutefois que ces Peuples en parlant, s expriment de la merne sorte. 
Ainsi quoique ks langues soint trs-differentes, & qu ils nc puissent 



The shapes and figures of several of these marks, how 
ever now disguised, do yet betray their original to be 
from picture and images; as the reader may perceive, 
by casting his eye on the specimen given us by Kir- 
cher * ; for, that it is only a more contracted and 
refined hieroglyphic, we have the concurrent testimony 
of the best writers on the arts and manners of this fa 
mous people ; who inform us how their present writing 
was deduced, through an earlier hieroglyphic, from the 
first simple way of painting the human conceptions f. 


pas s entendre les uns les autrcs en parlant ; ils s entendent fort bien 
en s ecrivant, & tons leurs Livres son! communs. Ces Curacteres 
sont en cela comme des Chiffres d arithmetique: plusieurs Nations 
s en sctvent: on leur donne cli Kerens noms; niais ils signifient par 
tout la inenie cbose Von compte jusqu a qnatre vingt rnille de ces 
Caracteres. Du Halde, Descr. de V Empire de la Chine, torn. ii. 
p. 226. fol. ed. 

, * China Illustrata, p. 227. & (Edipi /Egyptiaci Theatrum Hiero- 
glyphicum, p. 1-2. [See Plate V".] 

t Prime siquidem ex omnibus rebus mundialibus primes Sinas cha- 
racteres suos construxisse, turn ex Chronicis ipsorum patet, turn ipsa 
characterum forma sat superque demonstrat; siquidem non secus ac 
JExyptii ex animalibus, volucribus, reptilibus, piscibus, herbis, arbo- 
rumque ramis, funiculis, filis, punctis, circulis, similibusque charac 
ters suos, aliatamen & alia ratione dispositos formabant. Posteriores 
vero Shit? rerum experientia doctiores, cum magnam in tanta ani- 
malium plantarumque congerie confusionem viderent, cbaracteres 
hwjusmodi varie figuratos, certis punctorum linearumque ductibus 
aemu.Iati, in breviorem methodum concinnarunt, qua & in bunc usque 
diem utuntur. Porro Hlteras Since nulla ratione in Alphal>eti morem, 
uti ca?teris nationibus consuetum est, dispositas, neque voces ex 
literis & syllabis compositas habent, sed singuli characters singulis 
vocibus & nominibus respondent ; adeoque tot characteribus opus 
habent, quos res sunt, quas per conceptum mentis exponere volunt. 
Kircheri China Illustrata, p. 226. 

AH lieu d Alphabet ils se sont servis au commencement de leur 
Monarchic, de Hierogtyphes. Ils en peint au lieu d ecrire ; & par 
les images naturelles des choses qu ils formoient sur le papier ils 
tachoient d exprimer & de communiquer aux autres leurs idees. 
Ainsi pour ecrire un oiseau, ils en peignoient la figure; & pour sig- 
nifier un forest, ils representoient plusieurs arbres ; un cercle vouloit 
dire le Soleil, & un croissant la Lune. Cette maniere d ecrire estoit 
non seulement imparfaite, mais encore tres incommode. Ainsi les 
Chinois changerent peu a peu leur ecriture, et composerent des fi 
gures plus simples, quoique moins naturelles, &c. Le Comte, Now. 
Mewoires sur I Etat Presefit de la Chine, Tome prem. p. 256. Amst. 
1698. 12. 

Des le commencement de leur Monarchic, ils communiquoient 
leurs idees, en formant sur la papier les images naturelles des choses 

qu ils 


But it may be worth oar while to consider more par 
ticularly, the origine and introduction of these ARBI 
TRARY HARKS; the last advance of hieroglyphics 
towards alphabetic writing. We may observe, that 
substances, and all visible objects, were at first very 
naturally expressed by the images of the things them 
selves ; as moral modes and other ideal conceptions of 
the mind were more aptly represented by marks of arbi 
trary institution: for it required variety of knowledge, 
and quickness of fancy, to design these latter ideas by 
analogic or symbolic figures; which therefore can be 
supposed no other than an after-thought of a people more 
than ordinary ingenious, as the Egyptians, and who, 
aiming to set a price upon their ingenuity, made their 
meaning mysterious and profound. 

We shall see presently, that as all nations, in their 
ruder state, had hieroglyphic images or analogic or 
symbolic figures for marking things ; so had they like 
wise simple characters or notes of arbitrary institution, 
for mental conceptions. But, commonly, that sort only 

qu ils vouloient exprimer: ils peignoient, par exemple, tm oiseau, 
des montagnes, des arbres, des lignes ondoyautes, pour exprimer 
des oiseaux, des montagnes, un forfa, et des rivieres. Cette ma- 
niere d expliquer sa pensee etoit fort imparfaite, et demandoit plu- 
sieurs volumes pour exprimer assez peu des choses. D ailleurs il y 
avoit une infinite d objets, qui ne pouvoient e*tre representez par la 
peinture. C est ponrquoi insensiblement ils changerent leur anciehne 
maniere d ecrire : ils coniposerent des figures plus simples, et en 
inventerent plusieurs autres, pour exprimer lesobjets, qui ne tombent 
point sous les sens. Mais res caracteres plus modernes ne laissent 
pas d etre encore de vrais Hieroglifes. Premierement parce qu ils 
sont composez de lettres simples, qui retienuent la meme significa 
tion des c tirade res primitifs : Autretbis, par exemple, ils represeu- 
toienfc ainsi le Soleil par un cercle et Tappelloient Ge; ils le 
represented maintenant, par cette figure j", qu ils nomment pa 
reillement Ge. Secondement, parce que 1 institution des homines a 
attache a ces figures la mme idee, que ces premiers Symboles pre- 
sentoient naturellement, et qu il n y a aucune lettre Chinoise qui 
n ait sa propre signification, iorsqu on la joint avec d autres. Tied, 
par exemple, qui veut dire, malheur, calannte, est compose de la 
lettre mien, qui signifie maisnn, et de la lettre ho, qui sigmfie feu, 
parce que le plus grand raalheur est devoir sa maison en feu. On 
pent juger par ce seul exemple, que les caracteres Chinois n taiit 
pas des lettres simples, comme les notres, qui separement ne signi- 
fient rien, et n ont de sens que quand elles sont jointes ensemble ; 
ce sont autant de Hieroglifes, qui forment des images, et qui ex- 
priment les pcnsces. Du Halde, torn. ii. p, 227. 



which they most cultivated, or for which they were 
principally famous, happened to be transmitted to pos 
terity. Thus the Mexicans are remembered for their 
hieroglyphic paintings only ; and the Peruvians for their 
knotted cords. But we are not therefore to conclude 
that the Mexican writing had no arbitrary marks *, or 
that the Peruvians had no hieroglyphic paintings -f. 
Real characters of both kinds had, at different periods, 
been cultivated in China, if we may credit the concur 
rent relations of the Missionaries. In ancient Egypt, 
indeed, where hieroglyphic figures were so successfully 
cultivated as to give that general name to real charac 
ters, the use of marks by institution is more obscurely 
noticed. And for this, a reason will be assigned. Mar- 
tinus Martinius, in his History of China, tells us;};, they 
had two sorts of characters ; the one, marks by institu 
tion, which had been substituted instead of knotted 
cords, once in use amongst them (as in Peru), but much 
more intricate than the Peruvian knots: their other 
characters were figures resembling the Egyptian hiero 
glyphics, and representing the things they were designed 
to express. Now as the Chinese improved in arts and 
empire, it is natural to suppose they would much in 
crease their marks by institution. The growing number 
of these characters, the sciences to which they were ap 
plied, and their commodious and expeditious use, would 
tempt them even to change their analogic figures into 
marks by institution, till their whole writing became of 
this sort. It is now such: and that the change was 
produced in the manner here represented, we may col 
lect from the words and scheme of Martinius on the 
other side ||. 

* Joseph Acosta (as we see above) expressly says, that " the 
" Mexicans represented those things, which had bodily shape, by 
" their proper figures, and those which had none, by other significative 
11 characters:" las cosas que tenian figuras las ponian con sus 
proprias ymagines ; y para las cosas que no avia ymagen propria 
tenian otros caracteres significativos de aquello. 

f The same Acosta says expressly, that, besides their quippos or 
strings variously knotted and coloured, they had paintings like the 
Mexicans. L. vi. c. 8. 

J Idem imperator [Fo-hi] Sinicos characters reperit, quos loco 
nodorilm adhibuit, sed ipsis nodis intrieatiors. Sin. hist. 1. i. 

i| See Plats VI. 



But to all this it may be said, How then came it to 
pass, that Egypt, which had the same imperial fortune 
in a long flourishing dominion, should be so far from 
changing their analogic figures into arbitrary marks, 
that their arbitrary marks were almost lost and absorbed 
in analogic figures ? For such arbitrary marks they had, 
as we may collect from their monuments, where we find 
them intermixed with proper hieroglyphics; and from 
Apuleius, where we see them described in his account 
of the sacred book or ritual of the mysteries of Isis. 
" De opertis adyti profert quosdam libros, litteris igno- 
" rabilibus prasnotatos : partim FIG URIS cujuscEMODr 
" ANIMALIUM, concepti sermonis compendiosa verba 
" suggerentes ; partim NODQSIS, ET IN MCDUM ROTJS 
" TORTUOSIS, capreolatimque conclensis apicibus, a cu- 
" riositate profanorum lectione munita :" the very same 
species of writing with that of the Chinese, described by 
Martinius, and almost in the same words: " Fohius 
<e characteres reperit, quos loco nodorum adhibuit; sed 
" ipsis nod is intricatiores. 3 

Now this opposite progress in the issue of hieroglyphic 
writing, in Egypt and China, may, I think, be easily 
accounted for by the different genius of the two people. 
The Egyptians were extremely inventive; and, what is 
often a consequence of that humour (though here other 
things contributed to promote it), much given to secrecy 
and mysterious conveyance : while the Chinese are 
known to be the least inventive people upon earth ; and 
not much given to mystery. This difference in the ge 
nius of the two nations would make all the difference in 
the progress of hieroglyphic writing amongst them. I 
have observed that the easiest, and most natural expres 
sion of the abstract conceptions of the mind, was by 
arbitrary marks: but yet the most ingenious way of re 
presenting them was by analogic or symbolic figures ; as 
omniscience, by an eye; ingratitude, by a viper; im 
pudence, by the river-horse. Now the Egyptians, who 
were of a lively imagination, and studious of natural 
knowledge, though at first, like the Chinese, they ex 
pressed mental ideas by arbitrary marks, yet, as they 
improved their inventive faculties by use, they fell 
naturally into this method of expressing them by ana 


logic or symbolic figures ; and their love of mystery 
disposed them to cultivate it : for these figures necessa 
rily make the Character mysterious, as implying in the 
Inventor, and requiring in the User, a knowledge of 
physics ; whereas arbitrary marks lie open to all, as 
requiring no knowledge but that of the institution. Hence 
we have a plain reason how it happened, that the Egyp 
tian Hieroglyphics, from very early times, consisted 
principally of symbolic and analogic marks, arid that 
those Chinese Hieroglyphics were turned altogether into 
marks ; by institution. For as the Egyptians had soon 
learnt to express abstract ideas by analogic signs, so the 
Chinese were at last drawn to express even material 
things by arbitrary marks. 

In a word, the Chinese method of thus conducting 
hieroglyphic writing through all its changes and improve 
ments, from a picture to a simple mark, was the occa 
sion that the Missionaries, who considered the history of 
their -writ ing only by parts, have given us such different 
accounts of it. Sometimes they represent it like the 
Mexican pictures; sometimes like the knotted cords 
of the Peruvians ; sometimes as approaching to the cha 
racters found upon the Egyptian obelisks ; and some 
times again as of the nature of the Arabic marks for 
numbers. But each man speaks only of the monuments 
of which he himself had got information; and these 
differed according to their age and place. He, whose 
attention was taken up with the most ancient only of the 
Chinese monuments, did not hesitate to pronounce them 
hieroglyphics, like the Egyptian ; because he saw them 
to be analogic or symbolic signs, like the Egyptian ; he 
who considered only the characters of later use denied 
them to be like the Egyptian, because he found them to 
be only marks by institution. 

These imperfect accounts have misled the learned into 
several mistakes concerning the general nature and use 
of Hieroglyphics themselves. Some supposing it of their 
nature to be obvious marks of institution; and others, 
that it required a very comprehensive knowledge of phy 
sics to be able to compose them. 

M. Freret, speaking of the Chinese characters, says, 
" Selon eux [les Chinois] ces anciens caracteres etoient 

< tous 

fating /y-J-2 6. wl.IV. 

tL ^ 






o r 7 






( ^S? 


( "IWA 

2, dg 
^ /?lX 

FromMartintM Mctrtinuu) 

j^r^ // &vw, iy** montem 

oli -ni- 1 let, J-. jtnnycbahtr. Sic J^ I em 

c<> mod* b 


ae />en& rne litrnm life- 
Simcij tidfex dwctfos /wfo.r con - 
fc/ tplum, op*** (i/tftg titfltrniiM k-rtt- 
* rum,tiirus <>l> retx/tatem rarifafemqne 
may no fempfr in^refw bafafatnJn ev // 
bro cuibqua tit-er&Jvrmam t//mn</ttc re 
Jirunteamm, t/iias Roma r n oMifcts 
fiepe nie utdere numini 

J. Myndcfc . 


tous fondes sur des raisons philosophiqaes. Us ex- 
c primount la nature des choses qu ils signifioient : ou 
du rnoins la determinoient en designant les rapports 
de ces menies chones avec d autres mieux connues *." 
But he doubts whether entire credit is to be given to 
their accounts; for he observes, that Cc La construction 
* d une pareilie ian.ue den ande une parfaite connois- 
" sance de la nature et de Fordre des idees qu ? il faut 
ex primer, c est-a-dire, une bonne -metaphysique, et, 
( peut-etre mrim j iu& si/stanc complet de philosophic. - 
" Les Chinois n out jainais eu rien de pareii." He 
concludes, therefore, that the Chinese Hieroglyphics 
n ontjamais eu qu en rapp ?rt d INSTITUTION avec 
4 les choses qu elles signihent." This is strange rea 
soning. To know whether the ancient Chinese charac 
ters were founded on philosophic relations, does not 
depend on their having a true system of physics and me 
taphysics, but on their having a system simply, whether 
true or false, to which to adapt those Character s : Thus, 
that part of the Egyptian physics which taught, that the 
viper tore its way through its mother s entrails, and 
that the skin of the hyaena preserved the wearer invul 
nerable, served full as well for hieroglyphical uses, as the 
soundest part of their astronomy, which placed the sun 
in the center of its system. 

. Again, others have denied the Chinese characters to 

be properly Hieroglyphics, because they are arbitrary 

marks and not analogical. P. Parennin says, c Les 

caracteres Chinois ne sont hieroglyphes qu impropre- 

* mem. Ce sont des signes arbitrages qui nous 

donnent I idee d une chose, non par aucun rapport 

* qu ils aient avec la chose signitiee, raais parce qu on 
c a voulu par tel signe signirier telle chose. En est-il 

" de ineme des hieroglyphes Egyptiens?" P. Gaubil 
says, " On voit I importance d une histoire critique 
" sur I origine et les changemens arrives a plusieurs 

c caracteres Chinois qui sont certainement hierogiy plies. 

D un autre -cote, il y a des caracteres Chinois, qui 

" certainement ne sont pas hieroglyphes. Une histoire 

* de ceux-ci seroit aussi irnportante." These Fathers, 

we see, suppose it essential to hieroglyphic characters, 

* Mem. de I Acad. torn. vi. p. 6co. 

VOL. IV. K that 


that they be analogic or symbolic signs ; and finding the 
more modern Chinese writing to be chiefly composed of 
arbitrary marks, or signs by institution, they concluded 
that the Chinese characters were not properly Hiero 
glyphics. Whereas, what truly denotes a writing to be 
hieroglyphical is, that its marks are signs for THINGS; 
\vhat denotes a writing not to be hieroglyphical, is that, 
its marks are signs for WORDS. Whether the marks be 
formed by analogy or institution, makes no alteration in 
the nature of the writing. If they be signs for things, 
they can be nothing but hieroglyphics ; if they be signs 
for icords, they may be, and I suppose always are, 
alphabetic characters; but never can be hieroglyphics. 
However, it is but justice to these learned Fathers to 
observe, that one of them, from whom the others might 
have profited, appears to have a much clearer concep 
tion of this matter." La nature des hicroglyphes 
" (says he) ivest pas d etre des figures naturelles des 
" choses qu 1 ils signifient, mais settlement de les repre- 
" senter oa naturellement, ou par 1 institution des 
14 homines. Or tous les lettres Chinoises, ou sont des 
i( figures naturelles, comme les anciennes, du soleil, d 
" la; lune, ou autres semblables, ou sont des figures 
" destinees pour signifier quelque chose, comme sont 
<; toutes celles qui signifient des choses qui n ontaucune 
" figure; comme Tame, labeaute, les vertus, les vices, 
* et toutes les actions des homines et des animaux *.* 

On the whole, therefore, we see that, before the in 
stitution of letters to express SOUNDS, all characters 
denoted only THINGS; i. By representation. 2 V By 
analogy or symbols. 3. By arbitrary institution.- 
Amongst the Mexicans, the first method was princi 
pally in use : The Egyptians chiefly cultivated the se 
cond : And the Chinese, in course of time, reduced 
almost all their characters to the third. But the em 
pires of China and Egypt long flourishing in their dif 
ferent periods, had time and inclination to cultivate all 
the three species of hieroglyphic writing : only with this 
difference; the Egyptians beginning, like the Mexicans, 
with a picture, and being ingenious and much given to 
mystery, cultivated a species of hieroglyphics most 

* P. Magaillans, Relat. de la Chine. 








<2 S 

G _ 

er. ^ H 


aboun d : ng in signs by analogy, or symbols ; whereas 
the Chinese, who set out like the Peruvians with a 
knotted cord *, and were less inventive, and without a 
secret worship, cultivated that species which most 
abounds in marks of arbitrary institution f . 

In a word, all the barbarous .nations upon earth, be 
fore the invention or introduction of letters, made use of 
Hieroglyphics, or signs for things, to record their mean 
ing : the more gross, by representation ; the more subtile 
and civilized, by analogy and institution. 

THUS we have brought down the general history of 
Writing, by a gradual and easy descent, from a PICTURE 
to a LETTER; for Chinese marks which participate of 
Egyptian hieroglyphics on the one hand, and of alpha 
betic letters on the other (just as those hieroglyphics 
partook equally of Mexican pictures and Chinese cha 
racters) are on the very border of letters ; an ALPHABET 
invented to express sounds instead of things being only a 
compendium of that large volume of arbitrary marks. 

Some alphabets, as the Ethiopic and Coptic J, have 
taken in hieroglyphic figures to compose their letters ; 
which appears both from their shapes and names. The 
ancient Egyptian did the same, as a learned French 
Writer hath shewn in a very ingenious and convincing 
manner ||. But this is seen even from the names which 
express letters and literary- writing in the ancient lan 
guages: thus the Greek words 2HMEIA and SHMATA 
signify as well the images of natural things as artificial 
marks or characters ; and rPA$fl is both to paint and to 
write. The not attending to this natural and easy pro 
gress of hieroglyphic images from pictures to alphabetic 
letters, made some amongst the ancients, as Plato and 
Tully, when struck with the wonderful artifice of an 

* Les premiers inventeurs de 1 eeriture Chinoise, en s attachimt a 
des signes, qui n ont qu un rapport d institution avec les chores sig- 
nifiees, ont suivi le ^enie de la nation Chinoise ; qui menie avant 
Fo-hi, c est a dire, duns la plus profonde. aritiquiie, se seivoit da 
cordelettes nouees en guise d ecriture. Mom. de 1 Acad. torn. vi. 

f See note [S] at the end of this Book. 

J See note [T] at the end of this Book. 

|| See note [U] at the end of this Book. 



ALPHABET, conclude that it was no human invention, 
but a gift of the immortal Gods. 

Here then \ve see the first beginnings of Hieroglyphics 
amongst the Mexicans, and the end of them amongst 
the Chinese; yet we never find them employed in either 
of these places for mystery or concealment : what there 
was of this practice, therefore, in the middle stage of 
their cultivation amongst the Egyptians, we must needs 
conclude had some private or peculiar cause, unrelated 
to their general nature. 

But the course of the Mexican empire was too short 
to improve picture into an hieroglyphic ; and the Chi 
nese, which, ia its long duration, hath brought this pic 
ture down, through hieroglyphics, to a simple mark, or 
character, hath not yet (from the poverty of its inventive 
genius*, and its aversion to foreign commerce) been 
able to find out an abridgment of those marks, by let 
ters ; it was the old and well established monarchy of 
Egypt, so propitious to arts and civil policy, which car 
ried the PICTURE, through all the stages of its improve 
ment, quite down to LETTERS, the invention of this 
ingenious people -f-. 

Now such a general concurrence in the method of 
recording the thoughts, can never be supposed the effect 
of chance, imitation, or partial purposes; but must 
needs be esteemed the uniform voice of nature, speaking 
to the first rude conceptions of mankind : for tha reader 
may be pleased to observe, that not only the Chinese of 
the East, the Mexicans of the West, and the Egyptians 
of the South, but the Scythians likewise of the North 
(not to speak of those intermediate inhabitants of the 
earth, the Indians, Phoenicians, Ethiopians, Etruscans, 
&c.) all used the same way of writing by picture and 

But "to shew still clearer, that it was nature and ne- 

* See note [X] at the end of this Book. 

f Primi per figums animalium ^GYPTII sensus mentis effingebanl; 
et antiquissima monumenta memoriae humanae impressa saxis cer- 
nuntur, et htterarum semet inventores perhibent; inde Phoenicas, 
quia niari prapoliebant intulisse Grsecia?, gloriamque adeptos, tan- 
quam repererint, quae acceperant. Taciti An. 1, xi. c. 14. 

J See note [Y] at the end of this Book, 



cessity, not choice and artifice, which gave birth and 
continuance to these several specieses of hieroglyphic 
writing, we shall now take a view of the rise and pro 
gress of its sister-art, the art of SPEECH ; and having 
set them together and compared them, we shall see with 
pleasure, how great a lustre they mutually reflect upon 
one another ; for, as St. Austin elegantly expresses it, 
Signa sint VERB A VISIBILIA; verba, SIGN A AUDI- 


I. LANGUAGE, as appears from the nature of the 
thing, from the records of history, and from the remains 
of the most ancient languages yet remaining, was at 
first extremely rude, narrow, and equivocal * : so that 
men would be perpetually at a loss, on any new concep 
tion, or uncommon accident, to explain themselves 
intelligibly to one another; the art of inlarging language 
by a scientific analogy being a late invention : this would 
necessarily set them upon supplying the deficiencies of 
speech by apt and significant SIGNS-}-. Accordingly, 
in the first ages of the world, mutual converse was up 
held by a mixed discourse of words and ACTIONS; 
hence came the eastern phrase of the mice of the sign* ; 
and use and custom, as in most other affairs of life, 
improving what had arisen out of necessity, into orna 
ment, this practice subsisted long after the necessity was 
over ; especially amongst the eastern people, whose na 
tural temperament inclined them to a mode of conver 
sation, which so well exercised their vivacity, by motion; 
and so much gratified it, by a perpetual representation 
of material images. Of this we have innumerable in 
stances in holy Scripture : as where the false prophet 
pushed with horns of iron, to denote the entire over 
throw of the Syrians || : where Jeremiah, by God s 

* See note [Z] at the end of this Book. 

t If this be true, it must be the case at all times, and in all 
places, where language remains within those narrow bounds. Thus 
Lafiteau, speaking of the savages of North America, observes, 
Us patient autant da CESTE que de la Toix. Mceurs des Sauvages, 
vol. i. p. 482. 4to edit. 

I Exod. iv. 8. And not for the reason given by Le CltJrc on the 
place, ideoque vox iis [prodigiis] tribuitur, ctirn eornm opera Deus, 
non minus ac voce, suum hunc prophetam esse significant. 

j| 1 Kings xxii. 11. 

K 3 direction, 


direction, hides the linen girdle in a hole of the rock near 
Euphrates ; where he breaks a potter s vessel in sight of 
the people ; puts on bonds and yokes ; and casts a 
book into Euphrates **: where Ezekiel, by the same ap 
pointment, delineates the siege of Jerusalem on a tile; 
weighs the hair of his beard in balances; carries out his 
household -stuff; and joins together the tuo sticks for 
Judah and Israel -f-. By these actions the prophets in 
structed the people in the will of God, and conversed 
with them in signs : but where God teaches the prophet, 
and, in compliance to the custom of that time, con 
descends to the same mode of instruction, then ^the 
significative action is generally changed into a vision, 
either natural or extraordinary: as \vhere the prophet 
Jeremiah is bid to regard the rod of the almond-tree, and 
the seething pot; the work on the potter s wheel, 
and the baskets of good and bad figsj; and the prophet 
Ezekiel, the ideal scene of the resurrection of dry bones ||. 
The significative action, I say, was, in this case, gene 
rally changed into a vision ; but not always. For as 
sometimes, where the instruction was for the people, 
the significative action was, perhaps, in vision: so, 
sometimes again, though the information was only for 
the prophet/ God would set him upon a real expressive 
action, whose obvious meaning conveyed the intelligence 
proposed or sought. Of this, we shall give, at the ex- 
pence of infidelity, a very illustrious instance ^ The 
excellent Maimonides, not attending to this primitive 
mode of informal >n, is much .scandalized at several of 
these actions, unbecoming, as he supposed, the dignity 
of the prophetic office; and is therefore for resolving 
them in general into supernatural visions, impressed on 
the imagination of the prophet**; and this, because some 


* Jerem. xiii. six, xxvii. li. t Ezek. iv. v xii. xxxvii. 16. 

J Ib. i. xviii xxiy. II Ib. xxxvii. -2. 

tf See the rasa of Abraham, b. vi. 5- 

** More Neyochim, P- ii. r.ip. xlvi. which chapter he thus m- 
fitles, Qub d opera ca, qitf proplictcc dicitnl sefccusc, nonjuermtfacta 
rei-tra 6f eptcnd, scd tantum in vitione prophctias \ and then goes on: 
Sciastixo, queiiuidmodiim in .somnio accidit, ut homini videatur, ac 
si in bane vel illam regionem proiectus esset, uxorem in ea duxisset, 
ac ad lempiss nliquod ibi Irdbita^set, filium, quern N. appellant, 6 
q& aut tahs fuerit, ex ea suscepisset ; ita se qnbque rm habere 


few of them may, perhaps, admit of such an interpre 
tation. In which he is followed by Christian writers *, 
much to the discredit, as I conceive, of Revelation ; and 
to the triumph of libertinism and infidelity f ; the actions 
of the prophets being delivered as realities ; and these 
writers representing them as mean, absurd, and fanatical, 
and exposing the prophet to contempt J. But what is it 
they gain by this expedient ? The charge of absurdity and 
fanaticism will follow the prophet in his visions, when 
they have removed it from his waking actions : for if 
these actions were absurd and fanatical in the real repre- 
seniption, they must needs be so in the imaginary ; the 
same turn of mind operating both asleep and awake ||. 
The judicious reader therefore cannot but observe that 
the reasonable and true defence of the prophetic writings 
is what is here offered : where we shew, that information 
by action was, at this time, and place, a very familiar 
mode of conversation. This once seen, all charge of 
absurdity, and suspicion of fanaticism, vanish of them 
selves : the absurdity of an action consists in its being 
extravagant and insignifjcative ; but use and a fixed ap 
plication made these in question both sober and perti 
nent : \^Q fanaticism of an action consists in a fondness 
for unusual actions and foreign modes of speech ; but 
those in question were idiomatic and familiar. To il 
lustrate this last observation by a domestic example; 


in illis parabolis prophctarum, quas violent aut faciunt in visione 
prophetise. Quicquid enim clocent parabolse illoe de actione aliqua & 
rebus, quas propheta tacit, de mensura & spatio temporis inter imam 
& alteram actionem, de proiectione ex uno loco in alium : illud omne 
lion est nisi in visione prophetica, nequaquam vero sunt actiones 
verae & in sensus incurrentes, licet quaedam partes praecise & absolutd 
commemorentur in libris prophetarum. 

5 Vid. Joannis Smith, T/ieol. Cantab. Dissert ationem de Prophetia 
Sf Prophetis ex transl. Joannis Clerici, cap. vi. and his late followers. 

f See note [A A] at the end of this Book. 

I See note [BB] at the end of this Book. 

|| " Prophetic dreams and visions were so very lively (says a learned 
* writer) and affected the imagination with such force, that the pro- 
:c phet himself could not at the time distinguish such visions from rcali- 
" tics. Something of this kind we experi<. j ?ice in our dreams and 
" reveries," Sec Di^s. on Balaam, p. 193. 

K 4 


when the sacred writers talk of being born after the 
spirit, of being Jed with the sincere milk of the word, of 
putting their tears into a bottle, of bearing testimony 
against lying vanities, of taking the veil from mens 
hearts, and of building up one another ; they 4 speak the 
common, yet proper and pertinent phraseology of their 
country; and not the least imputation of fanaticism can 
stick upon these original expressions. But when we see 
our own countrymen reprobate their native idiom, and 
affect to employ only scripture phrases in their whole 
conversation, as if some inherent sanctity resided in the 
Eastern modes of expression, we cannot chuse but sus 
pect such men far gone in the delusions of a heated 
imagination. The same may be said of significative 
actions *. 

But it is not only in sacred story that we meet with 
the mode of speaking by action. Profane antiquity is 
full of these examples ; and it is not unlikely but, in the 
course of our enquiry, we shall have occasion to produce 
some of them : the early Oracles in particular frequently 
employed it, as we learn from an old saying of Hera- 
clitus : That the king whose Oracle is at Delphi, neither 
speaks nor keeps silent, but reveals by SIGNS ^. 

Now this \\ ay of expressing the thoughts by ACTION 
perfectly coincided with that, of recording them by 
PICTURE. There is a remarkable case in ancient story, 
which shews the relation between speaking by action and 
writing by picture, so strongly, that we shall need no 
other proof of the similar nature of these two forms. It 
is told by Clemens Alexandrinus : They say, that Idan- 
thura, a king of the Scythians (as Pherecydes Syrius 
relates the story), when ready to oppose Darius, who 
had passed the Ister, sent the Persian a symbol instead 
of Utters, nanlely, a mouse, a frog, a bird, a dart, and 

* See Clem. Walker s story of the fanatic soldier with his five 
lights. Hist. Indep. l\Tt. II. p. 152. 

f O jn Aey T Kpw!s<, aAAa cr^aaim. Plut. megi rS ^ y^oiv 
*wty*> P 992. which being a less precise and more equivocal mode 
of information, excellently well fitted the trade of oracles. The La 
cedemonians [see Herodotus in Thalia] preferred it to speech for 
another reason, viz. to hinder their being misled by the illusions of 

a plough. 


a plough *. Thus this message being to supply both 
speech and writing, the purport of it was, we see, ex 
pressed by a composition of action and picture. 

II. As speech became more cultivated, this rude 
manner of speaking by action was smoothed and polished 
into an APOLOGUE or fable-, where the speaker, to in- 
force his purpose by a suitable impression, told a familiar 
tale of his own invention, accompanied with such cir 
cumstances as made his design evident and persuasive : 
for language was yet too narrow, and the minds of men 
too undisciplined, to support only abstract reasoning 
and a direct address. We have a noble example of this 
form of instruction in the speech of Jotham to the men of 
Shechem ; in which he upbraids their folly, and foretells 
their ruin, in chusing Abimelech for their king. As this 
is not only the oldest, but the most beautiful j- apologue 
of antiquity, I shall need no excuse for transcribing it: 
" The trees went forth on a time to anoint a km% over 


them, and they said unto the olive-tree, Reign thou 
" over us. But the olive-tree said unto them, Should 
" I leave my fatness, wherewith, by me, they honour 
(( God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? 
" And the trees said to the fig-tree, Come thou, and 
<c reign over us. But the fig-tree said unto them, Should 
lf I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to 
cc be promoted over the trees ? Then said the trees unto 
" the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. And the 
" vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which 
" cheercth God and man, and goto be promoted over the 
" trees ? Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come 

thou, and reign over us. And the bramble said unto 
" the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then 

come and put your trust in my shadow ; and if not, 

1 let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the 

cedars of Lebanon ." 

How nearly the apologue and instruction by action 
are related, ma be seen in the account of Jeremiah s 

xv ) lx.vaf>etv ruv 
Zjjpt-, Aageia ota&duiTi rev "irg 
*i* tuv ypappa.Tu, pZv, jSaT^^OK, opiOa, oVre", a^ol^v. Strom. 

lib. v p. 567. 

t See note [CC] at the end of this Book. 
J See note [DP] at the end of this Book, 



adventure with the Rechabites * ; an instruction par 
taking of the joint nature of action and apologue. 

This was the birth of the FABLE; a kind of speech 
which corresponds, in all respects, to writing by hiero 
glyphics, each being the symbol of something else un 
derstood. And, as it sometimes happened, when an 
Hieroglyphic became famous, it lost its particular signi 
fication, and assumed a general one ; as the Caduceus, 
for instance, which was, at iirst, painted only to denote 
the pacific office of Hermes, became, in time, to be the 
common symbol of league and amity : so it was with 
the Apologue ; of which, when any one became cele 
brated for the art and beauty of its composition, or for 
some extraordinary efficacy in its application, it was soon 
converted and worn into a PROVERB. We have a fine 
instance of this in the message of Jehoash to Amaziah, 
" Sayins, The thistle that was in Lebanon, sent to the 
" cedar thai; was in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter 
" to my son to wife : and there passed by a wild beast 
" that was in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle. Thou 
" hast indeed smitten Edom, and thine heart hath lifted 
" thee up : glory of this, and tarry at home : for why 
" shouldest thou meddle to thy hurt, that thou shouldest 
" fall, even thou, and Judah with thee f ? " Where we 
see plainly that this satiric apologue of the thistle and 
cedar was now become a proverb : of a like kind is that 
of the propliet; Howl, fir tree, for the cedar is fallen^. ; 
to denote the danger of the lower people, when their 
superiors cannot withstand the civil tempest. 

III. But as speech improved into an art, the Apo 
logue was contracted into a SIMILE, in which men con 
sulted closeness as well as brevity , for here the subject 
itself being still kept in sight, there was no need, as in 
the Apologue, of a formal application : and how easily 
the Apologue slid into the Similitude, we may see by 
the following passage of Jeremiah, which, being some 
thing between both these forms of speech, communicates 
of cither s nature : The Lord called thy name a green- 
olive-tree, fair and of goodly fruit : with the noise of a 
great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the 
branches of it are broken ||, $c. This way of speaking by 

* Ch. xxxv. f 2 Kings xiv. 9, 10. J Zecb. xi. 2. || Jer. xi. 16. 



Simile, we may conceive to answer to the Chinese marks 
or characters in writing. 

Again, as from such marks proceeded the abbre 
viated method of alphabetic letters, so from the Simile, 
to make language still more expedite and elegant, came 
the METAPHOR; which is indeed but a Simile in little: 
for men so conversant in matter still wanted sensible 
images to convey abstract ideas. The steps by which the 
Simile was contracted into the Metaphor, may be easily 
traced by a careful perusal of the prophetic writings; 
there being no mode of speech more common than that 
compounded of both ; where the Simile is just about to 
be forsaken, and the Metaphor to be received. In this 
manner are God s judgments denounced against the king 
of Assyria: " Therefore thus saith the Lord God, be- 
" cause thou hast lifted up thyself in height, and he 
" hath shot up his top amongst the thick boughs, and 
<r his heart is lifted up in his height; I have therefore 
ic delivered him into the hand of the mighty one of the 
tC heathen : and strangers, the terrible of the nations, 
" have cut him oft*, and have left him : upon the inoun- 
" tains and in all the valleys his branches are fallen, and 
" his boughs are broken by all the rivers of the land, 
" and all the people of the earth are gone down from his 
" shadow, and have left him. Upon his ruin shall all 
(( the fowls of heaven remain, and all the beasts of the 
" field shall be upon his branches. To the end that none 
" of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves for their 
" height, neither shoot up their top amongst the thick 
" boughs *." Quintilian considering this matter in an 
inverted order, yet makes an observation, where he 
speaks of metaphors, much to our purpose Continuus 
[usus] vero in allegoriam & senigmata exit f . That is, 
As the allegory may, by degrees, be contracted into a 
Metaphor, so the Metaphor, by beating long upon it, 
may be drawn back again into an allegory. 

As the Simile slid into a Metaphor, so the metaphor 
often softened into a simple EPITHET, which soon dis 
charged all the colouring of the figure. This is observ- 

* Ezek.xxxi. 10, & seq. t L, viii. c. 6. 



able in the words decrepit *, capricious, and a great 
many others, when applied either to the body or mind, 
Which being first used in simile, then in metaphor, at 
length, by frequent use in epithet, lost the very memory 
of their original f. 

Thus we see the common foundation of all these va 
rious modes of WRITING and SPEAKING, was a PICTURE 
or IMAGE, presented to the imagination through the eyes 
and ears ; which being the simplest and most universal 
of all kinds of information (the first reaching those who 
could not decipher the arbitrary characters of an al 
phabet ; and the latter instructing those who were yet 
strangers to abstract terms), we must needs conclude to 
be the natural inventions of rude necessit} r . 

And here it may not be amiss to repeat an obser 
vation made before, that the primitive and more simple 
way of expression, whether in writing or speaking, did 
not always straight grow into disuse on the invention of 
a more improved manner. Thus we see in Scripture, 
the way of speaking by action was still used after the in 
troduction of the Apologue; and the Apologue, after 
that of the Simile and Metaphor. And so again in 
writing ; the first and simplest hieroglyphics continued 
to be used in Egypt (as we shall see) long after the re 
finement of them into those more artful ones called sym 
bolical ; and these, after that further improvement into 
characters or marks resembling the Chinese, and even 
after the invention of letters. 

But how, as in these several modes of speech, so in the 
several forms of writing, men made a virtue of necessity, 
and turned that into ornament and mystery, which had 
its birth in poverty, and was brought up in simplicity 
and plainness, is to be our next enquiry. 


It is now, I suppose, apparent, that the hitherto re 
ceived opinion, that the Egyptians invented hieroglyphics 
to conceal their knowledge, and render it mysterious, is 

* DECREPITUS. Comparatio vita? nostrae cum lucerna nota fuit 
Latinis, ut patet ex deci epitorum senum nuncupatione. Prim. 
Seal p. 48. 

f See note [EE] at the end of this Book. 



altogether without foundation. However, as it is very 
certain they did, at length, employ hiero Jyphic writing 
to such a purpose, it will be proper to examine how this 
came about; How one of the simplest and plainest 
means of instruction came to be converted into one of 
the most artificial and abstruse. 

To support what we have to say on this head with 
proper authority, it will be necessary to produce two 
important passages from Porphyry and Clemens Alex- 
andrinus, concerning the several natures and kinds of 
Egyptian writing. On these, we shall regulate our dis 
course; which will, in its turn, contribute to illustrate 
these passages, hitherto, as we conceive, very imper 
fectly understood. 

But it will be proper first of all to give the reader a 
general idea of the several natures and kinds of Egyptian 
writing, according to the order of time in which each was 
invented and improved ; and for the truth, as well as 
perfect intelligence of the account, refer him to the whole 
of the discourse. 

Egyptian writing was of four kinds: the first, HIERO 
GLYPHIC, and this twofold : the more rude, called 
curiologic ; and the more artificial, called tropical: the 
second, SYMBOLIC; and this likewise was twofold ; the. 
more simple, and the more mysterious ; that tropical^ 
this allegorical. These two kinds of writing, namely the. 
hieroglyphic and symbolic (which went under the generic 
term of hieroglyphics, distinguished into proper, and 
symbolic hieroglyphics), were not composed of the letters 
of an alphabet, but of marks or characters which stood 
for THINGS, not words. The third EPISTOLIC, so called, 
as we shall see, from its being first applied to civil. 
matters: and the fourth and last, HIEROGRAMMATIC, 
from its being used only in religious. These two last 
kinds of writing, namely, the epistolic and hierogram- 
matic, expressed WORDS, and were formed by the letters 
of an alphabet. 

We come now to the passages in question. Porphyry, 
speaking of Pythagoras, tells us : That he sojourned with 
the priests in Egypt , and learnt the wisdom and the 
language of the country r , together with their three sorts 
of letters, the EPJSTOLIC ? the HIEROGLYPHIC, and the 



SYMBOLIC; of which the HIEROGLYPHIC expressed tJic 
meaning of the writer, by an Imitation or picture of the 
thing intended to be expressed-., and the SYMBOLIC, by 
allegorical enigmas *. Clemens is larger and more ex - 
plicit : Now those who are instructed in the Egyptian 
wisdom, learn jirst of all the method oj their several sorts 
of letters; the Jirst of which is called E PISTOL ic; the 
second SACERDOTAL, as being used by the sacred scribes ; 
the last, with which they conclude their instructions, 
HIEROGLYPHICAL. Of these different methods, the one 
is in the plain and common way of writing by the Jirst 
elements of words, or letters of an alphabet ; the ether 
by SYMBOLS. Of the symbolic way of writing, which 
is of three kinds; the Jirst is that plain and common one 
of imitating the Jigure of the thing represented ; the 
second is by tropical marks ; arid the third, in a contrary 
way, of allegorizing by Enigmas. OJ the Jirst sort, 
namely, by a plain and direct imitation of the Jigure, let 
this stand for an instance: To signify the sun, they 
made a circle ; the moon, a half circle. The second, or 
tropical way of writing, is by changing and transferring 
the object with justness and propriety -\ : this they do, 
sometimes by a simple change, sometimes by a complex 
multifarious transformation ; thus they leave engraven J 
on stones and pillars the praises of their kings, under 
the cover of theologic fables. Of the third sort, by 
enigmas, take this example : the oblique course oj the 
stars occasioned their representing them by the bodies of 
serpents-, but the sun they likened to a scarabteus, be 
cause this insect makes a round ball of beast s dung, 
and rolls it circularly, with its face opposed to that lu 
minary ||. 

Thus these two ancient Greeks : but both of them 
being in the general mistake concerning the original of 
the Egyptian hieroglyphics, it is no wonder their accounts 
should be inaccurate and confused. The first mistake 
common to both, and the natural consequence of that 
false principle, is making the EPISTOLARY writing first, 

* See note [FF] at the end of this Book, 
f See note [GG] at the end of this Book. 
J See note [HH] at the end of this Book. 
|| See note [II] at the end of this Book. 



in order of time *, which Mas indeed the last. For that 
this was their sentiment appears from Clemens s calling 
hieroglyphic writing ura rnv *J rtXtvlaiuv, the last and most 
perfect kind. The second common mistake is their 
counting but three sorts of writing, when, indeed, there 
were four ; as is discoverable even from their own 
reckoning : Porphyry naming epistolic, hieroglyphic, and 
symbolic ; Clemens, epistolic, sacerdotal, and hierogly- 
pineal , the First leaving out sacerdotal, which the Second 
supplies; and the Second symbolic^ which the First 
supplies. Their other mistakes are peculiar to each : 
Clemens errs most in enumerating the several sorts; and 
Porphyry in explaining their several natures. 

This latter writer names the three sorts, epistolic, hie 
roglyphic, and symbolic-, and this was not much amiss, 
because the fourth, the hierogrammalic, or sacerdotal, 
not differing from the epistolic in its nature, but only in 
its use, he comprized it, we may suppose, under the 
generic term of epistolic : but when becomes to explain 
the nature of the symbolic, which is performed two ways, 
tropically and altegoricoHy, he quite omits the first, and 
insists only on the latter. 

Clemens, on the other hand, gives us these three 
kinds, the epistolic, the sacerdotal or hiercgraminatical, 
and the hieroglyphical. Here epistolic is used as a 
specific term, and hieroglyphical as a generic ; just con 
trary to Porphyry, who, in his enumeration, employs 
them the other way: but then, as to their nature, 
Clemens says, the epistolic and sacerdotal were by letters 
of an alphabet, and the hieroglyphic by symbols: the 
first part of the explanation is exact We have ob 
served that Porphyry judiciously omits to explain epis 
tolary writing, as supposing it to be well known : but 
Clemens, who adds to epistolary, sacerdotal, a way of 
writing, though like the epistolary, by an alphabet, yet 
being confined to the use of the priests, not so well 
known, he with equal judgment explains their nature : 
but the latter part of his account, where he says hiero 
glyphic writing was by symbols, making symbolic, which 
is a specific term, to be equivalent to hieroglyphical, 
which he uses generically, is an unlucky blunder* of 
* See note [KK] at the end of this book. 



which this is the consequence, that proceeding to divide 
symbolic, as a generic term, into three sorts, curiologic, 
tropical, and allegorical; he falls into a direct contra 
diction : T)7 $\ Eu/A^oAifciif, Says he, if p\v KV^icXoytTrai 
xtx,r pipn<nv., the first kind of symbolic writing is by a 
plain and simple imitation oj the figure of the thing in^ 
tended to be represented-, which is directly contrary to 
the very nature of a symbol ; a symbol being the repre 
sentation of one thing by the figure of another. For 
instance, it was the bull Apis, and not the picture or 
image of Osiris, that was the symbol of Osiris : Clemens 
therefore, we conceive, should have said hieroglyphics 
were written curiologically and symbolically ; that the 
curiologic hieroglyphics were by imitation ; the symbolic^ 
by conversion ; and that, of this conversion, there were 
two kinds, the tropical and allegorical -, and then all had 
answered to his foregoing division. For the rest, He 
explains the nature of curiologic and symbolic hierogly 
phics with sufficient exactness ; save that the first in 
stance he gives of allegoric symbols seems to belong to 
the tropical. 

Thus we see how these writers contribute to the cor 
recting one another s mistakes. What is necessary for 
the further clearing up their accounts, which, obscure 
as they are, are the best that antiquity will afford us, 
shall be occasionally considered as we go along. 

Let us next enquire how HIEROGLYPHICS came to be 
employed for the vehicle of mystery. 

I. The Egyptians, in the beginnings of their monarchy, 
wrote like all other infant nations, in a kind of universal 
character by picture ; of which rude original essays, we 
have yet some traces remaining amongst the hieroglyphics 
of Horapollo -, who tells us, that the ancient Egyptians 
painted a man s tzvo feet in water to signify & fuller *, 
and smoke ascending upwards to denote Jire f. But to 
render this rude invention less incommodious, they soon 
devised the more artful way of putting one single figure 
for the mark or representative of several things ; and thus 
made their picture an HIEROGLYPHIC. 

This was the first improvement of that rude and bar 
barous way of recording men s ideas ; and was practised 

* Horap. 1. i, c. 65. t L " c l ^ 



in a twofold manner ; the one more simple, by putting 
the principal part for the whole; the other more artifi 
cial, by putting one thing, of resembling qualities, for 
another. The first species was the CURIOLOGIC HIERO 
the latter of which was a gradual improvement on the 
former; as appears both from the nature of the thing, 
and from the records of antiquity. Thus the moon was 
sometimes represented by a half circle, sometimes by a 
cynocephalus* : The overflowings of the Nile, sometimes 
by a spreading water in heaven and earth, sometimes 
by a lion^; (a hieroglyphic, we may suppose, invented 
after they had learnt a little astronomy) : a judge, some 
times by a man without hands, holding down his eyes j , 
to denote the duty of being unmoved by interest or pity : 
sometimes by a dog near a royal robe || ; for they had 
a superstition that a dog, of all animals, was only pri 
vileged to see the gods ; and it was an old custom for 
their judges to behold and examine their kin^s naked : 
Now in all these instances we see the first hieroglyphic is 
curiological -, the second, tropical. 

The Egyptians therefore, employed, as we say, the 
proper hieroglyphics to record, openly and plainly, their 
laws, policies, public morals, and history; and in a 
word, all kinds of civil matters. 

i. This is seen from those remaining monuments of 
old Egyptian wisdom, the OBELISKS^. That very 
ancient one of Harnesses, now standing before the pon- 
tin* c palace in Rome, and first erected to adorn the city 
of Heliopolis, is full of hieroglyphic characters; these 
Hermapion translated into Greek; and part of his 
translation is preserved in Ammianus Marcellinus. By 
which it appears, that the writings on this obelisk con 
tained only a panegyric on Ramesses, and a history of 
his conquests. But this was not the subject of one only, 
but of all the obelisks in general**. We have seen 

* H.orap. 1. i. c. 14. f L. i. c. 21. 

I Plutarch. Is. & Osir. Diod. Sic. lib. i. || Horap. 1. i. c. 40. 

II See note [LL] at the end of this Book. 

E * O /Egypte, Jigypte, Religionum tuarum solas supererunt fa 
bulab, & reque incredibiles Posteris suis; solaque supererunt verba 
ed. p. 90. 

VOL. IV. L already, 


already, and shall see further, what Clemens Alexandri- 
nus hath observed to this purpose. Diodorus saith, that 
Sesostris erected two obelisks of very durable stone, each 
twenty cubits high -, on which he engraved the number 
of his forces, tlte particulars of his revenue, and a cata 
logue of the nations he had conquered*. At Thebes, 
Strabo telleth us, there were certain obelisks with in* 
script ions recording the riches and power of their kings, 
and the extensiveness of their dominion, stretching into 
Scythia, Bactria, India., and the country now called 
Ionia ; together with the multitude of their tributes, 
and the number of the soldiery, which consisted of a 
million of men ^: And Proclus assureth us, That the 
Egyptians recorded all singular events, memorable ac 
tions and new inventions on columns, or stone pillars J. 
Tacitus is more particular than the rest : for speaking 
of Germanicus s voyage into Egypt, and his curiosity in 
examining its antiquities, he saith : Mox visit veterum 
Thebarum magna vestigia ; 8$ manebant structis molibus 
litterce JEgyptia?,, priorum opulent lam complexes: jus- 
susque e senioribus sacerdotum patrium sermonem inter 
pret ari, referebat habit assc quondam sept mgenta millia 
tftate militari : atque eo cum ejcercitu regem llhamsen 
Libya, ^Ethiopia, Medisque ; Persis, Bactriano, 
ac Scythia potitum. Quasque terras Syri Armeniique 
&; contigui Cappadoces colunt, inde Bythynum, hinc 
Lycium ad mare imperio tenuisse. Legebantur in 
dicia gentibus tributa, pondus argent i 8$ auri, numerus 
armorum equorumque, 8$ dona templis ebur atque adores, 
quasque copias frumenti $ omnium utensilium qu<zqut 
natio penderet, haucl minus magnifica, quam nunc, vi 

O?*; IKCITOV, sty av t7reypoc, & TOTS /nsys* TK vva,<; TO 
tuv la^offo^uv, K^ rov U^^QV ruv x.ofltx. rrQfapvtQsfluv tQvuv. Lib. i. 

p. 37. S.E. 

*f- lv ^t ra,^ $JJKI? ITTJ T\,\IUV oCeAiaKwv avay^a^a* ^Xwcrjat rov itrhvTM 
ruv TOTE j2a(7*Aewv, x^ T>}V ETn^aTEiav, uq ^%5J> ZKvQaiv, icj Jlizxl^uv, x^ 
jkJ wf, xj r55? vvv luvia.$ 
tKO,rv fAU(>isi$a,<;. 1. xvii. 

J Atyt/TTTtoK <& *TI * Ta ysyovoToc, hat TJJ? ^j 5j^>j? aet via, taat 
vi ^t /^tv55/x>3, hoc, rris t rofia? ai>Tn $s CCITQ TVV rt/^K, lv 
fct fpugaXotzu, x tot, SctviAol* a|n fuv ar^otfpa.ruv, gTre lv ra|*crr, errs 

lv ii/tff<rn. Procl. in Timseum, 1. i. p. 31. f. 



Parthorum, aut potent la Romana, jubentur *. But to 
obviate at once all the cavils of Kircher against this 
concurrent testimony, I observe, in the last place, that 
it receives the fullest confirmation from that excellent 
treatise of Horapollo, which consists chiefly of the an 
cient and, proper hieroglyphics ; all of them relating to 
civil life, and altogether unfit for the abstruse specula 
tions of philosophy and theology. 

2. This is further seen from that celebrated inscrip 
tion on the temple of Minerva at Sais, so much spoken 
of by the Ancients; where an infant, an old man, a 
hawk; a fish, and a river-horse, expressed this moral 
sentence, All you who come into the world, and go out 
of it, know this, that the Gods hate impudence. The 
excellent Stillingfleet, who was in the common opinion 
that the Egyptians invented hieroglyphics to secrete their 
profound wisdom, and that this inscription at Sais was 
part of that wisdom, pronounces sentence from hence, 
on ail their mystic learning in general : " Certainly 
<c (says he) this kind of learning deserves the highest 
" form amongst the difficiles nugce ; and all these hiero- 
" glyphics put together will make but one good one, and 
" should be for labour lost -j- ." But there might be 
much knowledge in their mystic learning, whatever be 
comes of the hieroglyphical inscription at Sais ; which 
was indeed no part of that learning, but a plain and 
public admonition in the proper hiei^lyphic ; so far 
from being a difficult trifle, to be secreted, that it was 
a very plain and important truth to be read and under 
stood by the people ; as appears from the place where it 
was engraved, the vestibule of a public temple. 

And here KIRCHER s visionary labours on this subject 
might have been pitied, had he discovered in any of his 
voluminous writings on the Hieroglyphics, the least re^ 
gard to truth or probability. This learned person had v 
collected a fact from Antiquity, which the notoriety of it 
will not suffer us to call in question, namely, that the 
old Egyptians committed their profound and secret wis 
dom to the seal of hieroglyphics. Egyptian wisdom was 
a matter of moment. But the learned Jesuit did not 
duly consider, whether any of the vehicles of that wis- 

* Annal. lib. ii. f Orig. $acr, 1 " c < iiP- 79 

L 2, dom 


dom were yet in being ; much less did he reflect that 
the same Antiquity which tells us they had much pro 
found wisdom, tells us likewise, that it was all collected 
in their sacerdotal * books, books long since lost ; and 
that the ancient monuments of stone still remaining, 
were records of another nature. However, inflamed 
with the glory of a Discoverer, he lanches out in search 
of this unknown World; guided by some of the latest 
Greek Writings, in conjunction with the earliest Egyp 
tian hieroglyphics. The Greek writings indeed pre 
tended (though very impudently -f) to ancient Egyptian 
wisdom ; but these hieroglyphics constantly disclaimed 
it "I : By this direction he steered at large : and it is 
pleasant to see him labouring through half a dozen folios 
with the writings of late Greek Platonists, and the 
forged books of Hermes, which contain a. philosophy, 
not Egyptian, to explain and illustrate old monuments, 
not philosophical. While Hermapion, Diodorus, Stra- 
bo, Proclus, Tacitus, and Pliny, are carefully avoided 
as false lights, which would drive him upon rocks and 
shallows. But to proceed. 

II. Thus far went the two species, of the proper 
Hieroglyphic ; which, in its last stage of the tropical, 
touched upon SYMBOLS (of which we are now to speak) 
they having this in common, that each represented one 
thing by another ; in this they differed, that the tropical 
Hieroglyphic was employed to divulge; the tropical 
Symbol, to secrete : for all the several modes of writing 
by THINGS having had their progressive state, from less 
to more perfection, they easily fell into one another ; so 
that there was but little difference between the proper 
Hieroglyphic in its last state, and the symbolic in its 
first. For this method of contriving tropical hierogly 
phics, by similar properties, would of itself produce re 
finement and nice enquiry into the more hidden and 
abstruse qualities of things ; which meeting at the same 

* See Clem. Alex. Strom. 1. vi. f Vol. iii. b. iii. 4. 

J Thus in one place he expresses himself: Plerique ferfc Herodo- 
turn, Diodorum, Plinium secuti, Obeliscos non nisi historicas regum 
veteru m commemorationes continere opinati sunt; quod tamen falsum 
csse, ex dictis luce meridiana clarius patet. pp. 269, 270. of his 
(Edip. ^gypt. torn. iii. 



time with a temper now much turned to speculation * on 
matters of theology and philosophy, would as naturally 
introduce a new species of zoographic writing, called 
by the ancients SYMBOLIC, and employed for SE 
CRECY |; which the high speculations, conveyed in it, 
required ; and for which it was well fitted by the aenig- 
matic quaintness of its representations. 

As the proper Hieroglyphics were of two kinds, curio- 
logical and tropical, so were SYMBOLS; the more 
natural, simply TROPICAL; the more artificial, ENIG 

1. TROPICAL symbols were made by employing the 
less known properties of things. The quality was some 
times used for the sake of a fanciful resemblance ; us a 
cat stood for the moon, because they observed the pupil 
of her eye to be filled and enlarged at the full moon, 
and to be contracted and diminished during its de 
crease J: sometimes it was founded on the natural his 
tory of an animal ; as a serpent represented the divine 
nature, on account of its great vigour and spirit, its 
long age and reviresence |j. How easily the tropical 
hieroglyphic fell into the tropical symbol, we may see 
by the following instances : eternity was sometimes ex 
pressed by the sun and rnoon, sometimes by the basi 
lisk ^| ; Egypt, sometimes by the crocodile, sometimes 
by a burning censer with a heart upon it ** : where the 
simplicity of the first representation and the abstruseness 
of the latter, in each instance, shew, that the one was a 
tropical hieroglyphic employed for communication; the 
other a tropical symbol contrived for secrecy. 

2. ENIGMATIC symbols were formed by the mys 
terious assemblage of different things, as in the Caduceus; 
or of the parts of different animals, as in a serpent with 

asoo sfiav x T>K 7uv xyoti 

sv. Sanch. apud Euseb. Pr. Evang. lib. i. 
cap. 10. 

f See note [MM] at the end of this Book. 

J ul $s Iv TO*? o/A^acrv UVTV xo ^at izrA^scrOat JAEV xj BrX 
In BTo.vcrt twvi,}, teTfli/vtaQai &s x^ potoctvyi. !)! \v ra^ ptiuff&cri rti a>rfu. Plut. 
de Is. & Os. 

|| Euseb. Praep. Evang. lib. i. cap. 10. 

% Horap.l. i. c. i. ** Lib. i, c. 22. 

13 a hawk s 


a hawk s head * ; or of things and animals together, as 
in a serpent with a hawk s head in a circle -j- : the change 
of the tropical into the enigmatic symbol is seen in this, 
To signify the sun, they sometimes % painted a hawk, 
and this was tropical , sometimes & scarabaus^with a 
round ball in its claws, and this, as we see in Clemens, 
was of the enigmatic kind. Thus at length, though by 
insensible degrees, these characters, called enigmatic 
symbols, became immensely distant from those called 
cnriologic hieroglyphics : to conceive this, the reader 
need only cast his eye on two the most celebrated of the 
Egyptian hieroglyphics employed to denote the universal 
Nature ; namely, the Diana Multimammia \\ ; and the 
winged globe with a serpent issuing from it ^ ; the first 
is in the very simplest style, of a curioiogic hieroglyphic ; 
the other mysterious assemblage, is an enigmatic symbol: 
but, under the first figure, we must observe that the 
universal Nature was^considered physically >; under the 
latter, metaphysically ; agreeably to the different genius 
of the times in which each was invented. 

But this was not all : the Egyptian Hieroglyphic, in 
passing from an instrument of open communication, to 
a vehicle of secreqy, suffered another and more re 
markable change. \Ve have observed before, that the 
early Egyptian hieroglyphics resembled, in this, the 
Mexican, that what things had bodily form were gene 
rally represented by figures ; what had not by marks or 
characters. Which we find verified in the most ancient 
of the Egyptian Obelisks yet remaining. The reader 
need but" cast his eye into Kircher, to see how exactly 
their hieroglyphics in this point resembled the American, 
published by Purchas, not only in their use, which as 
jPurchas ** and Diodorus ^ say, were to record the 
number of their troops, the particulars of their revenue, and 
the names of their conquered towns and provinces ; but 
likewise in their forms and figures. But when now every 
thing was directed to secrecy and mystery, modes as well 

* Euseb. Praep. Evang. lib. i.cap. 10. t Ibid. 

J Horap. 1. i. c. 6. 

i| See note [NN] at the end of this Book. 

1T See the Bembine Table, 

** See p. 119. tt Seep. 146, 



substances were painted by images *. Thus openness 
was expressed by a hare -J-, destruction by a mouse J, 
uncleanness by a wild goat ||, impudence by a fly ^[, 
knowledge by an ant**, aversion by a wolf|t> ^^ ^ 
by a cynocephalus , <*c. And to make the matter 
still more mysterious, one animal was made to represent 
many and very contrary moral modes ; thus the hawk 
signified sublimity, humility, victory, excellence ||||, 8$c. 
On the contrary, and for the same reason, one thing was 
represented by many and various hieroglyphics ; some 
times for an addition, out of choice, to confound the 
vulgar ; sometimes for a change, out of necessity, when 
a hieroglyphic by long or frequent use was become 
vulgar or common. 

Now the ancient Greeks, though they saw this to be 
a different species of writing from the proper hierogly 
phic, and accordingly, as we find by Porphyry, distin 
guished them into two kinds, hieroglyphical and sym 
bolical, yet confounding their original, in supposing both 
invented out of choice, have not accurately distinguished 
either their different natures or uses ; they took it for 
granted that the hieroglyphic, as well as symbol, was a 
mysterious representation ; and, what was worse, a re 
presentation of speculative notions in philosophy and 
theology ; whereas it was used only in public and open 
writings, to register their civil policy and history : 
These mistakes involved the whole history of hierogly 
phic writing in infinite confusion. 

But it is now time to speak of an alteration, which 
this change of the subject and manner of expression 
made in the DELINEATION of hieroglyphic figures. 
Hitherto the animal or thing representing was drawn out 
graphically ; but when the study of philosophy (which 
had occasioned symbolic writing) had inclined their 
learned to write much, and variously ; that exact manner 
of delineation would be as well too tedious as too vo 
luminous : by degrees, therefore, they perfected another 
character, which we may call the running-hand of hie 
roglyphics, resembling the Chinese writing, which being 

* See pp. 123, 124. f Horap. 1. i. c. 26. J c. so 
il c-49. fl c. 51. ** c. 52. 
ft J. ii. c. 22. ft 1. i. 0.14. lljj 1. i. c. 6. 

L 4 at 


at first formed only by the outlines of each figure *,. be 
came at length a kind of marks. One natural effect 
which this running-hand would, in time, produce, we 
must not omit to mention ; it was, that the use would 
take off the attention from the symbol, and fix it on the 
thing signified , by which means the study of symbolic 
writing would be much abbreviated, the reader or de 
cipherer having then little to do, but to remember the 
power of the symbolic mark; whereas before, the properties 
of the thing or animal employed as a symbol were to be 
learnt : in a word, this, together with their other marks 
by institution, to design mental ideas, would reduce the 
characters to the present state of the Chinese. And 
these were properly what the ancients call HIEROGRA- 
PHICAL t i" ; used afterwards on subjects which had em 
ployed the ancient hieroglyphic, as we may see by what 
follows : Dr. Robert Huntington, in his Account of the 
Porphyry Pillars in Egypt J, tells us, there are yet 
some ancient monuments remaining of this kind of writ 
ing ; " The Franks (says he) call these pillars Agug- 
" lias, and the English, in particular, Cleopatra s 
" needles ; but the inhabitants content themselves with 
" the general name of pillars. They have no bases or 
" pedestals above ground ; and if they ever had any, 
" x they must needs be very deep in the earth. The hie- 
" roglyphic characters, wherewith they are engraven, 
" are probably the aboriginal Egyptian letters, long be- 
" come obsolete, and they resemble the Chinese ciia- 
" racters, each whereof represents a word, or rather 
" an entire sentence ; besides, they seem to be written 
" the same way, namely, from top to bottom," Apu- 
leius ||, speaking of his initiation into the mysteries of 
Isis, describes the sacred book or ritual (which we find 
was written partly in symbolic, and partly in these hie 
roglyphic characters of arbitrary institution, resembling 
the Chinese) in this manner : " He [the Hierophant] 
" drew out certain books from the secret repositories of 
" the Sanctuary, written in unknown characters, which 

* See note [OO] at the end of this Book. 
-\ See note [PP] at the end of this Book. 
J Philos. Trans. N clxi. p. 624. 
|j Metamorphosis, lib, ii. 

" contained 


" contained the words of the sacred Formula, compen- 
" diously expressed, partly by FIGURES of animals, and 
" partly by certain MARKS or notes^ intricately knotted, 
" revolving in the manner of a wheel, and crowded to- 
" gether and curled inward like the tendrils of a vine *, 
" so as to hide the meaning from the curiosity of the 
" profane -f~ ." The characters here described may be 
seen in almost every compartment of the Bembine-table, 
between the larger human figures ; and likewise on 
several of the obelisks, where they are disposed in the 
same manner. As we find these characters mixed with 
the symbolic, in the ritual of Apuleius ; so in the Bern- 
bine-table we find them mixed both with the proper hie 
roglyphic and the symbolic. 

III. And now this contracted manner of hieroglyphic 
writing, called hierographicaL will lead us, by an easy 
step, to the third species, called by Porphyry and Cle 
mens the EPISTOLIC: For now we are come to one of 
those links of the chain which served to connect hiero 
glyphic marks and alphabetic letters ; the first of which 
contained curiologic or symbolic signs of things ; the 
other comprised signs of words by arbitrary institution. 
For those hieroglyphic marks which were SIGNS OF 


proper hieroglyphics in being signs for things, and of 
alphabetic letters in being signs by institution. And 
the contrivance of employing these arbitrary marks to 
design all the primitive sounds of the human voice was 
inventing an alphabet. This was what the Egyptians 
called their EPISTOLIC writing. And, this, let me ob 
serve, the ancients agree, was invented by the SECRE 
TARY OF AN EGYPTIAN KING. A circumstance which 
will much conduce to the discovery of the cause of its 

Now, as it is evident that every kind of hieroglyphic 

* For a specimen of the marks thus described, see Plate IX. fig. i. 

f De opertisadyti profert qunsdom libros, litteris ignorahifibus prceno- 
tatos : partimjiguris cujuxcemodi animalium, conctfitt sermon is romp vz- 
diosa verba suggerentcs ; PARTIM NOOOSIS, ET IN MODUM ROTJE TOR- 
norum kctione mwita. 



writing, when employed in public business to convey 
the royal commands to leaders of armies and distant go 
vernors, must be unavoidably attended with the incon- 
veniericies of imperfect and obscure information, it was 
natural for our Secretary to set himself upon contriving 
a remedy : and this he found in the invention of the 
letters of an alphabet ; serving to express words, not 
things ; whereby all the inconveniencies of imperfect in 
formation, so fatal in nice conjunctures, were avoided, 
and the writer s mind delivered with the utmost clearness 
and precision: which too had this further advantage, 
that as the Government would endeavour to keep their 
invention to themselves, LETTERS OF STATE were, for 
some time, conveyed with the security of our modern 
ciphers * : and thus, being at first appropriated to the 
use of the cabinet, literary writing naturally acquired the 
name of EPISTOLARY f ; which if you will not allow, 
no reasonable account, I think, can be given of its 

That this was, indeed, the fact, appears from Plato s 
account of Theuth s INVENTIONS. He tells us that 
when Theuth came to consult his master, king Thamus, 
about communicating his discoveries to the people, -crapa 
TSTCV lA0wi/ o iu0 rots Ttftvug iTTtdzify) ^ t(pYi i7v ^iaJo0]i/ai 

the king declared particularly 

against communicating the invention of LETTERS. But 
the reason he gives for the prohibition, we see, was not 
the principal and more immediate (as it rarely is amongst 
Politicians), but only a secondary, and more remote ; 
namely, a regard to the interests of hieroglyphic learning : 
for the King tells his Secretary, that, if this secret should 
be divulged, men s attention would be called away from 
THINGS, to which hieroglyphics, and the manner of 
explaining them, necessarily attached it, and be placed 
in exterior and arbitrary SIGNS, which would prove the 

* It was an ancient custom, as Diodorous tells us, for the kings 
of Egypt to read all the letters of state, themselves. 
iyegSsj/la hcce7v avrov t$n wguTov TO?? 
*m ^vvotlen tra^la Mulct, rgoirev wvpetlifyiv 
xdlat rw fiourifaiciit <rvvlste[Asvuv. p. 44. 

t See not* [QQ] at the end of this Book; 



greatest hindrance to the progress of knowledge* . What 
is still more pleasant, and in the true genius of politics, 
even the reason given was thought fit to be disguised : 
for though there might be some truth in this ; yet, without 
doubt, the chief concern of the Egyptian Priests was to 
continue themselves useful ; which they would be, while 
science lay concealed in hieroglyphics. 

Thus the reader finds, that the very contrary to the 
common opinion is the true ; that it was the^/foW literary 
writing, not the first hieroglyphical, which was invented 
for secrecy. In the course of time, indeed, they naturally 
changed their use ; letters became common, and hiero 
glyphics hidden and mysterious* 

But now it may be said, that though the progress 
from a Picture to a simple Mark hath been traced out, 
step by step, and maybe easily followed, till we come 
to that untried ground where ART takes the lead of na 
ture, the point where real characters end, and the lite- 
rary begin ; yet here, art seeing a precipice before her, 
which seems to divide the two characters to as great a 
distance as at first setting out, she takes so immense a 
leap as hath been thought to exceed all human efforts : 
which made Tully say, Summa3 sapientios fuisse sonos 
vocisj, qui infiniti videbantur, paucis literarum notis 
terminarej; and many of the ancients to believe that 
LITERARY WRITING was an invention of the Gods. 

However, if we would but reflect a little on the nature 
of sound, and its unheeded connexion with the objects 
of sight, we should be able to conceive how the chasm 
closed, and how the passage from a real to a literanj, 
character was begun and smoothed out. 

While the picture, or image of the thing represented, 
continued to be objected to the sight of the reader, it 
could raise no idea but of the thing itself. But when 
the picture lost its form, by being contracted into a 
mark or note, the view of this mark or note would, in 

*Totm> 7 ruv 
O.TI h 

o^^cic. Phced. 
t See note [RR] at the end of this Book, 
} Tusc. i. 25. 



course of time, as naturally raise, in the mind, the 
sound expressing the idea of the thing, as the idea itself. 
How this extension, from the idea to the sound, in the 
use of the real character first arose, will he easily con 
ceived by those who reflect on the numerous tribe of 
words in all languages, which is formed on the sound 
emitted by the thing or animal*. 

Yet the use to which this new connexion might be 
applied, would never" be thought of till the nature of hu 
man sounds had been well studied. 

But when men had once observed (and this they could 
not but observe early and easily, by the brute and inar 
ticulate sounds which they were perpetually hearing 
emitted) how small the number is of primitive sounds, 
and how infinite the words are which may be formed by 
varied combinations of those simple sounds, it would 
naturally and easily occur to them, that a very few of 
those marks, which had before casually excited the sen 
sation of those simple sounds, might be selected and 
formed into what has been since called an alphabet, to 
express them all : And then, their old accustomed way 
of combining primitive sounds into words, would as na 
turally and easily direct them to a like combination of 
what were now become the simple marks of sound; 
from whence would arise LITERARY WRITING. 

In the early language of men, the simple, primitive 
Sounds would be used, whether out of choice or neces 
sity, as significative words or terms, to denote the most 
obvious of those things with which they perpetually con 
versed. These sounds, without arbitrary institution, 
would incite the idea of the thing, sometimes, as its 
audible image, sometimes, as its natural representative. 
Therefore the old marks for things, to which words of 
this original belonged, would certainly be first thought 
of for the figures of those alphabetic letters by the inge 
nious inventer of this wonderful contrivance. And, in 
fact, this which appears so natural has been found to be 

* For example, (to use the words of St. Austin) when we say in 
Latin, asris tinnitum, equorum hinnitum^ ovium balatum, turbarum 
ciangorem, stridorem catenarum, perspicis hsec verba ita sonare, ut 
res quae his verbis signiftcantur. This class of words the Greeks de 
signed by the name of 00/*aWo fo. 

























actually the case : the most early alphabets being framed 
from the outlines of those figures in the real characters, 
which, by use, in their hieroglyphic state, had arrived 
at the facility of exciting, in the mind, the SOUND as 
well as THING *. 

IV. But this political alphabet, as at first it was, 
soon occasioned the invention of another called SACRED : 
for the priests having a share in the Government, must 
have an early communication of the secret; and being 
now iinmerged in deep philosophy, they would naturally 
employ, in their hidden doctriries, a method so we/1 
adapted to convey abstract speculations with exactness 
and precision. But the various uses of an Alphabet in 
civil business not permitting it to continue long a secret, 
when it ceased to be so, they would as naturally invent 
another alphabetic character for their sacred use : which 
from that appropriation was called HIEROGRAMMA- 

That the Egyptian priests had such a. sacred alphabetic 
character, we are informed by Herodotus: " The 
" Greeks (says he) write their letters, and make their 
" computations with counters, from the left to the 
" right ; the Egyptians, on the contrary, from the right 
" to the left. They use two sorts of letters, one of 
" which they called sacred, the other popular f." Dio- 
dorus is yet more express; " the PRIESTS (say he) 
" taught their sons two sorts of letters, the one called 
" sacred, the other, the common arid popular ^" Cle 
mens Alexandrinus goes still farther, and describes the 
very books in which this sacred alphabet was principally 
employed : And as the place, where he explains this 
matter, is very curious, and contributes to the farther 
illustration of the subject, I shall consider it more at 
large. It hath been shewn that Clemens, in the passage 
quoted above, understood what he called the sacerdotal, 
IEPATIKHN, to be an alphabetic character. Now the 

*. Plate V III. 

U,, m. ffo tui 

roc. ta ove? rr,v %**a, Ayvvtoi , etiro TUV $t%w iw* 
TO, afiirepoc.. o^cKrloitri os ypet(A.[A.otg-i xpiuvlcti. x^ TO, psv a,vrut, **> fat 
Mif&t!k*a xaAs/Iaj. Lib. ii. cap. 36. 
i*v *Iej5 

p. 51. 



same writer speaking in another place * of the forty-two 
books of Hermes, which contained all the civil and re 
ligious science of the Egyptians, informs us, that ten of 
these books were called sacerdotal, and were the parti 
cular study of the chief priest, wp-?rTiff T ltp& T 
IEPATIKA xaAa/x,j*a i (SiSAi a Ixpurfotvsi. These ten, 
therefore, were written in a sacred alphabetic character ; 
though, as we learn from him in the same place, all the 
various kinds of sacred characters were employed in the 
composition of these forty-two books ; for some were 
written in hieroglyphics ; as he tells us, where he speaks 
of the sacred scribe, whose business it was to study 
those called hieroglyphical, TXTOV rd n lEPOFAT^IKA 
*Aa/Aw* And, what is very remarkable, we find the 
subject of these to be of a popular and civil nature, 
such as cosmography, geography, the simple elements 
of astronomy, the chorography of Egypt, the descrip 
tion of the Nilef, &c. conformable to what has been 
laid down concerning the use and application of the 
most early hieroglyphics. Others again of these books 
were written in symbols, particularly those two which 
the chanter had in care : o wJo? tv T* run TVS |**afx?i 
iTnpf^o/AW^ STMBOAHN* TXTOV $(x,<ri Juo p/fos; apfiAifpS gf 
&iv Ix T Ep/A*. Here then we have all the three spe 
cies of sacred writing, the hieroglyphic, the symbolic, 
and the hierogrammatic or sacerdotal , the last of which, 
as we hold, was by letters of an alphabet. 

But an ALPHABET for secrecy, and consequently dif 
ferent .from the vulgar, was a thing in use amongst the 
priesthood of almost all nations. Philo Biblius, in Eu- 
sebius, speaking of Sanchoniatho s history, tells us, that 
the author composed it by the assistance of certain re 
cords which lie found in the temples written in AMMO- 
NEAN LETTERS^ , not understood by the people: these 
Ammonean letters Bochart explains to be such as the 

* Strom, lib. vi. pp. 633, 634. Edit. Colon. 1688. 

^. Ibid. 

o (is ffv^ot^uv Tor? ajro run a.$vruv tvqtbtiyiv a7rox.pv<pm$ 

o-vfxei/x^o*?, a ^g tix, ? && yiuf [*,%. Prsep. Evacg. 

. cap. 9. 



priests used in sacred matters *. Diogenes Laertius 
informs us, from Thrasyllus, that Democritus wrote 
two books, the one of the sacred letters of the Babylo- 
niansy the other of the sacred letters of the city Meroe^i 
and concerning these last, Heliodorus saith, that the 
Ethiopians had two sorts of letters, the one called regal, 
the other vulgar; and that the regal resembled the sa 
cerdotal characters of the Egyptians J. Theodoret, 
speaking of the Grecian temples in general, says that 
they had certain forms of letters for their own use, called 
sacerdotal \\ and Fourmont, and others, suppose that 
this general custom prevailed among the Hebrews also^f. 
Which opinion, a passage in Irenaeus seems to sup 

And now we shall know how to deal with a strange 

passage ff of Manetho in Eusebius. This historian as 

sures his reader, " that he took his information from 

pillars in the land of Seriad, inscribed by Thoyth the 

1 first Hermes, with hierographic letters in the sacred 

1 dialect; and translated, after the flood, out of the 

1 sacred dialect, into the Greek tongue, with HIERO- 

* GLYPHIC letters, and deposited in volumes by Aga- 

" thodsemon, the second Hermes, father of Tat, in the 

Ammoneorum, i.e. Ammanim Abenezra in Levit. xxvi. 30. 
Tcmpla facta ad citltum Solis. Quod venssimum; Sol enirn He- 
braeis est ammo, uncle atnman templum Solis, quern solum Cceli Do- 
minum crediderunt prisci Phoenices. Sanchoniathon, TBTO> ya^ 
(roy yfaov) SEC* tvop^cv povoii s^a^S xvpHiv. Itaque hie praecipue cultus. 
Tamen, crescente superstitione, crediderim nomen Ammanim etiam 
ad alia delubra pertinuisse. Itaque litercc Ammoneorum sen Ammanim 
sunt literas templorum, literas in sacris receptae. Geogr. Sucr. par. ii. 
lib. ii. cap. 17. 

f See note [SS] at the end of this Boek. 

W Tetmav y^ac^stftv At607nxo*V, ^s^m^t AAa 
rrfphw, * & ro?s AiyviMvv IEPATIKOI2 KAAOYMENOIS 
Lib. iv. 

IEPATIKOYS -orpoc-^yo^syev. In Genes. Qu. 61. 

^[ Cette coutume de la plupart des nations Orientales, d avoir des 
Ch^racteres bacres, & des Caracteres Profanes ou d un usage plus, 
vulgaire, etoit aussi chez les HEBREUX. Reflex. Crit. vol. i. p. 36. 
* Antiquce et pnmse Hebrseorum literee, quae SACERDOTALES 
nuncupatae, decem quidem fuere numero. Adver. liasr. 1. ii. c. 41. 

ft See Stillingfleet s Orig. Sacr. book i. chap. ii. 11. and Mr, 
Shucktbrd s Connections, vol. i, ed. 2. p. 247. 



* e Adyta of the Egyptian temples." The original is in 
these words : Ex rui> MuvsQu rx SfCft/vi/ra, $V STTI TlroXt- 

WI/ v 

Ix TJ h^aj J taAcxIjj ?? TJIV i\Xyvi$a, (puwit yg&pfA&ffiit IEPO- 

Iv j3/Aoij UTTO T8 ^Ayot^o^t^o]/^ 3 
ra Tar Iv TOK a^urotf TWV iffuV 

Stillingfleet objects, with reason, to the 
absurdity of translating into the Greek tongue with hie 
roglyphic characters : and the author of the Connections 
well seeing that by ypa ^a<ni/ //>oyAu<ptxoiV must be un 
derstood an alphabetic character, says the words should 
not be translated hieroglyphics, but sacred letters -\ : he 
might as well have said Gothic letters, fyoyAupixa being 
always used by the Ancients to denote characters 
for things, in opposition to alphabetic letters, or cha 
racters, composing words. It is certain the text is cor 
rupt; as may be seen, 1. From the word ^pa/x/xao-iv 
(which in strict propriety signifies the letters of an al 
phabet) its being joined to oyAu<pixoIV, which denotes a 
species of marks for things. 2. From the mention of a 
sacred dialect, *%/> hfoxl&> (of which more hereafter) ; 
for if these records were written in a sacred dialect, it is 
plain the character employed must be alphabetic ; and 
so indeed it is expressed to be in the words Tipof^pixoiV 
ypa fx/Aatn, which immediately follow; and if, out of 
this dialect, it were translated into another, must not 
alphabetic characters be still employed? And now we 
see not only that the present reading is wrong, but are 
led, by this last observation, to the right; the passage 
being without all question to be read thus: 
jcoIaxAuo-jM-ov Ix ruff if^a? h&btxlis f rm i?iAW<5a <pwvw 
IEPOrPA$IKOI2 xj aVoj0<rv Iv j3/Aoi?, &c. 
IEPOrPA$IKOir, in speaking of the translation, 
being the very words just before employed in speaking 
of the original ; and with great propriety : for upofyuQm* 
was used by the ancients as a generic term, to signify as 

* Euseb. Chron. ed. Seal. Amst. 1658. p. 6. 
f Connection of the Sacred and Profane History, vol. i. p. 274, 
and vol. ii p. 294. 



well sacred letters composing words, as sacred marks 
standing for things ; /fpofxupixa not so, but denoting only 
marks for things: so that the plain and sensible mean 
ing of the passage is, that a work, written by the first 
Hermes, in the sacred dialect, and sacred letters, was 
translated, by the second Hermes, into the Greek dia 
lect ; the original sacred letters being still employed. 
And the reason is evident ; the Greek translation was 
for the use of the Egyptians : but such would be soonest 
invited to the study of a foreign dialect when written in 
their own letters : a common inducement for translators 
into a foreign language, to preserve the original charac 
ter. Besides, this version was not for the Egyptians in 
general, but for the priests only ; and therefore their pe 
culiar character was preserved. 

We now begin to see that the whole extravagance in 
this account, which made it rejected by the Critics with 
so much contempt, is only in the high antiquity given to 
the fact ; and this, the very circumstance of the fact re 
futes : for it not only tells us of sacred alphabetic letters, 
which we have shewn to be of late use amongst the 
Egyptians, but likewise of a sacred dialect, which cer 
tainly was still later : And, if I be not much mistaken, a 
passage in Herodotus will lead us to the time when this 
translation was made. The historian tells us, that when 
Psammitichus, by the assistance of the lonians and 
Carians, had subdued all Egypt, he placed these Greek 
adventurers on both sides the Nile ; where he assbncd 
them lands and habitations, and sent among them Egyp 
tian youths to be instructed in the Greek language ; from 
whence sprung the State-interpreters for that tongue * : 
Thus far the historian ; from whose account of Psam- 
mitichus s project it appears, that his purpose was to 

* CCTTO $e T&TUV tn^ot^ovluv TW 

lyjTrlu yayovao-*. Euterp. 1. ii. c. 154. Hence it appears 
that the learned Dr. Prideaux was mistaken when he said But the 
worst of it is, the ancient Egyptians did nut speak Greek ; the Ptolemys 
first brought that language amongst them Connection, part ii. lib. i. 

VOL. IV. M establish 


establish a constant intercourse with the Grecian nations. 
The youth picked out for interpreters were, without 
question, of the priesthood, all letters and learning re- 
skiing in that order ; which had likewise a great share in 
the public administration. And now the priesthood 
having the Greek tongue amongst them, which its use 
in public affairs would make them diligently cultivate ; 
Where was the wonder that, about this time, some of 
these interpreters, Ep/xWif, should employ themselves 
in translating the sacred Egyptian records into the Gre 
cian language? 

But then as to the precise time of the invention of 
EGYPTIAN LETTERS, it can never be so much as guessed 
at; because hieroglyphics continued to be in use long 
after that time ; particularly on their public Monuments, 
where we find no appearance of alphabetic characters. 
However, that letters were very early, we have shewn 
above, as well from other circumstances, as from this, 
the giving the invention of them to the Gods *. 

Those who are for deriving all civil improvements from 
the line of Abraham, of course, bestow upon it the inven 
tion of an ALPHABET. But as this fancy is only amongst 
the loose ends of an hypothesis, without any foundation 
in Scripture, these critics differ much about the time. 
Some suppose letters to have been in use amongst the 
Patriarchs; and, by them, transmitted to the Egyptians; 
but there are such strong objections to this opinion (to 
mention no other than the Patriarch s sending verbal 
"messages where it was more natural as well as more ex 
pedient to send them written), that others have thought 
proper to bring down the time to that of MOSES f, when 
GOD, they say, taught him the use of alphabetic letters, 
in the exemplar of the two tables written, as the text 
assures us, with the Finger of GOD. But how, from 
words, which at most only imply that the Ten Command 
ments were miraculously engraved as well as dictated, 
it can be concluded that letters were then first invented, 
I have not logic enough to find out. A common reader 
would be apt to infer from it, that letters were now well 

* See pp. 131, 132. of this volume. 

t See note [TT] at the end of tins Book. 



known to the Israelites, as GOD had thought fit to deliver 
the first elements of their religion in that kind of writing; 
I say, he would be thus apt to infer, though MOSES had 
never spoken of them on other occasions (which he hath 
done) as of things in familiar use * : But if GOD was in 
deed the revealer of the artifice, how happened it that the 
history of so important a circumstance was not recorded ? 
for, as we shall see presently, the Memory of it would 
have been one of the strongest barriers to idolatry. 

However, though I think it next to certain that MOSES 
brought letters, nidi the rest of his learning from Egypt, 
yet I could be easily persuaded to believe that he both 
enlarged the alphabet, and altered the shapes of the 
letters f. i. The Hebrew alphabet, which he employed 
in the composition of the Pentateuch, is considerably 
fuller than tnat which Cadmus brought into Greece. 
Cadmus was of Thebes in Egypt ; he sojourned in Syria, 
and went from thence into Greece : His country shews 
that his letters were Egyptian ; and this, their difference 
in number from the Hebrew, sufficiently confirms ; 
Cadmus having only sixteen, and the Hebrews two arid 
twenty. 2. That MOSES likewise altered the shape of 
the Egyptian letters I think probable ; all hieroglyphic 
writing was absolutely forbidden by the second com 
mandment, and with a view worthy the divine wisdom ; 
hieroglyphics being, as we shall see hereafter, the great 
source of their idolatries and superstitions. But now 
alphabetic letters (which henceforth could be only used 
amongst the Hebrews) being taken by the Egyptians 
from their hieroglyphic figures, retained, as was natural, 
much of the shapes of those characters : to cut off there 
fore all occasion of danger from symbolic images, MOSES, 
as I suppose, altered the shapes of the Egyptian letters, 
and reduced them into something like those simple forms 
in which we now find them. Those who in much 
later ages converted the northern Pagans to the Cnris- 
tian Eaith observed the same caution. For the charac 
ters of the northern alphabet, called RUNIC, having been 
abused to magical superstition, were then changed to the 

* See note [UU] at the end of this Book, 
t See note [XX] at the end of this Book. 
J See p. 12-2, of this Volume. 

M 2 Roman. 


Roman. Tantas in bis Runis (says Sheringham) latere 
virtutes Gotbi ante fidein susceptam rati sunt, ut sive 
hostium caput diris sacrandum, sive pestis morbique 
amoliendi, sive aliud opus suscipiendum se incanta- 
tibnibus Rumsquc muniebant Post fidem vero sus- 
ceptam Runtf, qui incantationibus praestigiisque magicis 
in tantum adhibits fuerint, adeo fastidiri coeperunt, ut 
rnulti libri, multaque antiqua monumenta exinde prag- 
postero zelo dejecta atque deleta sunt : unde historia 
Getica magnum detrimcntum clademque accepit. Tan 
dem vero, teste Loccenio, Sigfridi episcopi Britannic! 
opera (Papa etiam Romano suam operain prasstante) 
eb res devenit ut liana in Sueciu A. DML. penitus abo- 
lerentur ; & characteres Latini substituerentur *. 

This account will reconcile the differing systems of 
Marsham and Renaudot ; one of whom contends f, that 
the letters which Cadmus brought into Greece were 
Egyptian: the other, that they were Phenician J ; and 
both of them appeal to the authority of Herodotus ; who 
says plainly, "that the alphabet brought by Cadmus 
into Greece was Egyptian ; and yet, speaking of the three 
most ancient inscriptions in Greece, he says, they were 
in Phenician characters, which very much resembled 
the Ionic :" for if what has been here supposed be allowed, 
then the alphabet which Cadmus carried with him was 
doubtless of Moses s invention, as to tliejbrm, but Egyp 
tian, as to the power. It may be just worth observing, 
that Renaudot s discourse is full of paralogisms, which 
this solution detects. 

3. To this let me add another consideration. The 
vowel-points (as seems now to be generally agreed on) 
were added since the Jews ceased to be a nation. The 
Hebrew language was originally, and so continued to be 
for a long time, written without them. Now if God 
first taught Moses an alphabet, can we believe that the 
vowels would have been thus generally omitted ? But 
suppose Moses learnt his alphabet of the Egyptians, and 
only made it fuller, and altered the form of the letters, 
we may easily give a good account of the omission. The 
Egyptian alphabet, as we observed, was invented for 

* De Ang. gent. orig. pp. 292, 293. -j- Can. Chron. 

I Surl origine des Jetties Grecques. 



precision, and used for secrecy. Both ends were an 
swered by an alphabet with hardly any vowels. 

Thus we see that the form of alphabetic characters was 
a matter of much importance to the Hebrews, as to the 
integrity of their religion. If therefore GOD was the 
immediate author of them, it is difficult to suppose that 
Moses could omit to record the history of their invention ; 
such a history being the best sanction to recommend 
their use ; and the best security against a return to the 
idolatrous practice of hieroglyphic-writing ; to which this 
people, so fond of Egyptian manners, were violently 

But we have not yet done with Manetho ; The last 
circumstance opening the way to another, discovery of 
great importance in the Egyptian antiquities : for by 
this passage we find they had not only sacred characters 
and letters, but a sacred DIALECT or language also ; 
for what he here calls J^aAtxV, in another place 
(where he interprets a certain word in this language) he 
calls itpx yXurrix, *. It might perhaps be imagined that 
this sacred dialect was only the more ancient Egyptian 
language ; which being now grown into disuse, was pre 
served amongst the priesthood : But if we consider the 
small and slow change to which the Eastern lan^ua^es 

. . *9 

were subject; especially that of a people who admitted 
so little of foreign manners, we can scarce believe this 
to have been the case. Besides, the sacred dialect was 
used for secrecy (being known only to the priests) which 
could never be the condition of a national language, how 
obsolete soever we may suppose it to be grown. All this 
considered, I take the sacred dialect to have been a lan 
guage of their own framing : and one of their latest ex 
pedients for keeping their science to themselves. We 
have shewn how, for the sake of exactness, as they grew 
more speculative, they invented an alphabet to express 
their conceptions by marks for words, instead *of marks 
for things : But the simple mystery of a peculiar alpha 
bet, employed in a common tongue, would be soon dc- 

E To trv^TTav avruv t< YKSfiS, TBTO <e 
TO y* YK Kaff IEPAN rAfiSSAN /3a<rXea <mp*ivei, TO 
ri x^ nro^EJ t? xstTcc. TVV KOINHN AIAAEKTON, x^ TW c-vvTiptvov 
YKS-ftE. Apud Joseph, cont. Ap. lib. i. cap. 14. 

M 3 ^ tected; 


tected ; they therefore, as now it appears, invented a 
peculiar language for the use of their alphabet ; and thus, 
under a double cover, effectually secured their hidden 
science. The way of framing the sacred dialect, I sup 
pose, to be this : They called things by the names of 
their hicroglyphical representatives : Thus YK in the 
Egyptian tongue signifying a serpent ; and a serpent, in 
their hieroglyphics, denoting a king *, YK, as Manetho 
informs us above, signified a king in the sacred dialect : 
And in this manner, their hieroglyphics became a suf 
ficient fund for a new language. 

On the whole then it appears that the Egyptian priests 
had these three methods of secreting their recorded 
explaining their several natures, and distinguishing them 
from the proper hieroglyphic, I have endeavoured to 
disembroil a subject which seems to have perplexed 
even the Ancients themselves ; who, in their accounts of 
the Egyptian literature, perpetually confound the several 
species of sacred writing with one another. What 
greatly contributed to this confusion, I presume, was the 
sacerdotal practice of promiscuously using, in one and 
the same book or literary monument, the several various 
species of sacred writing ; that is to say, the proper hie 
roglyphic, the symbolic, and the hicrogrammatic ; as was 
done in composing the Bembine table, and the mystic 
ritual described by Apuleius. 

Thus we find how it happened that that which had its 
origin in necessity, came, in time, to be employed for 
secrecy, and was at length improved into an ornament. 
But now, in the incessant revolutions of tilings, this 
imagery, v. hich was at first invented for open commu 
nication, and was from thence converted into mystery, 
at length resumed its primitive use ; and, in the flou 
rishing ages of Greece and Home, was employed in their 
monuments- and medals as the shortest and plainest 
method of conveying men s conceits; and a SYMBOL, 
which, in Egypt, was pregnant with profound wisdom, 
as in those places the vocabulary of the people. 

To illustrate these several changes and revolutions, 
* Jlorapoilo, lib. i. cap. 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64. 



we shall once again take up our instance from LAN 
GUAGE (which still, in all its minuter alterations and 
improvements, ran parallel with WRITING) ; and shew, 
how the original expedient, to communicate our thoughts 
in converse ^ the rude effort of necessity, came in time, 
like the first hieroglyphics, to be turned into mystery, 
and afterwards improved into the arts of eloquence and 

I. It hath been already shewn, in the fable of Jotham, 
how the Apologue corresponded to the proper Egyptian, 
hieroglyphic , and was invented only to present a 
sensible image to the unimproved conception of the 

As the change of the object, which the fable intro 
duced, made it exactly answer to the tropical hiero 
glyphic; so that sort of PROSOPOPOEIA, which the fable 
much employed, representing a multitude under the 
image of one, made it equally correspond with the curio- 
logical hieroglyphic. 

II. But now, in after-times, either when men began 
to affect mystery, or their subject to require secrecy, they 
gradually changed the Apologue or fable, by quaint and 
far-fetched allusions, into a PARABLE, on set purpose 
to throw obscurity over the information ; just as the 
tropical hieroglyphic was turned into the tropical symbol. 
We find innumerable instances of this mode of speech in 
Scripture : Thus GOD by the prophet Ezekiel : ec Son 
" of man, utter a PARABLE unto the rebellions house, 
" and say unto them, Thus saith the LORD GOD, Set 
k( on a pot, set it on, and also pour water into it: gather 
" the pieces thereof into it, even every good piece, the 
" thigh and the shoulder, fill it with the choice bones. 
" Take the choice of the flock, and burn also the bones 
" under it, and make it boil well, and let them seeth 
" the bones of it therein *." 

And in this manner was the Parable employed both 
amongst the Orientalists and Greeks : and thus the Jews 
understood it, as appears by the complaint of the pro 
phet : " Ah, LORD ! they say of me, Doth he not speak 
" PARABLES^?" and by this denunciation of our LORD 
himself; " Unto you it is given to know the mysteries 
* Ezek. xxiv. 3, & seq. f Ib. xx. 49. 

M 4 " Of 


" of the kingdom of GOD ; but to others in PARABLES ; 
" that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might 
" not understand */ And thus that great master of 


Grecian eloquence, Demetrius Phalercus, explains it: 
" The allegory is used (says he) as a covering and dis* 
" guise to the discourse |." 

III. We have observed, that the Symbol, the more it 
receded from the proper Hieroglyphic, the more it be 
came obscure ; till it divided itself, at length, into two 
sorts, the tropical and the enigmatical: Just so again it 
was with the Parable, which (answering to the tropical 
symbol) grew more and more mysterious, till it became 
a RIDDLE ; and this again jexactly corresponded to the 
enigmatical Hieroglyphic. 

This, in sacred Scripture, is called a DARK SAYING, 
xa-r !*;& For the nature of God s dispensation re 
quired enigmas ; and the genius of those times made 
them natural. The prophet Ezekiel will furnish us with 
an example:- Cc And the word of the LoRD(says he) 
c came unto me, saying, Son of man, put forth a RID- 
11 DLE, and speak a Parable unto the house of Israel ; 
" and say, Thus saith the LORD GOD, A great eagle 
" with great win^s, long winged, full of feathers, which 
<x had divers colours, came unto Lebanon, and took the 
" highest branch of the cedar ; he cropt off the top of 
" his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traf- 
tt fic," c. In the interpretation of these Riddles 
consisted much of the old Eastern Wisdom, according 
to the observation of the Wise-man : " A man of undcr- 
t( standing (says he) shall attain unto wise counsels ; to 
tl understand a Proverb and the interpretation ; the 
" words of the Wise and their DARK SAYINGS||." It 
was the custom too, as we learn from Scripture^" (and it 
lasted long, as we learn from Josephus**), for the Sages 

* Luke via. 10. 

-j- p<7-7TS cr,t>/xaXy/4/Aa) Ta Xoytf, rr! iXXuyopiae xgpgj]0n. B.e Elo.C. 

sect- 100. j Ch. xvii. i, & seq. 

Prov. j. 5, 6. 5[ Judges xiv. 12, 13, 14. 

...... p*f* 

Antiq. Jud. lib. yiii. cap. 5, 



of those times to send or offer RIDDLES to each other, 
for a trial of sagacity, to the exposition of which, re 
wards and penalties were annexed * ; so that the present 
of a riddle was sometimes only a stratagem for a booty: 
hence, the understanding dark sentences became pro 
verbial amongst the Hebrews to signify the arts of fraud 
and deceit; as may be collected from the character 
given by Daniel of Antiochus Epiphanes : " And in the 
" the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgres- 
" sors are come to the full, a kin; of fierce countenance 




The mysterious cover to this kind of wisdom made it 
(as always such a cover will) the most high-prized accom 
plishment : so when the Psalmist would raise and en 
gage the attention of his audience, he begins his song 
in this manner: "Hear, all ye people; give ear, all 
a ye inhabitants of the world : both low and high, rich 
" and poor together. My mouth shall speak of wis- 
" dom, and the meditation of my heart shall be of un- 
" derstanding. I WILL INCLINE MINE EAR TO A 
< THE HARP;};." For as a great Critic in sacred and 
profane learning rightly observes upon the place : P sal 
mi hujus auctor, quo audit ores attentos reddcit, his pro- 
miff if sc de rebus mavimis, 8$ in quibus summa sapient ia 
posita sif, dicturum; $ in carmine hoc componcndo 
art em quam potuit maximam adhibuit, ut materia dig- 
num redder et ||. 

And as, in the improved art of WRITING by Symbols, 
the Egyptians (as well to give it the air of learning and 
elegance, as to cloud it with a variegated obscurity) 
studied all the singular properties of beings, and their 
relations-, in order to fit them for representatives of other 
things; so in the art of SPEAKING, men soon began to 
adorn those modes of information just now mentioned 

tc> TO at 

vot Etgotpov AINirMATA, x) wag avrx hat7v 
evvrjvevloi oioty.fTneti, TU Xveuvli p^pitycalat OLITOTIVHV. Id. ib 

t Chap. viii. ver. 23. J Psal. xlix. 4. 

\\ Psalmorum Liber in Versiculos metrice divisus, &c. Ed. Hare, 
Episc. Cicest. p. 265. 



with tropes and figures; till at length Posterity began to 
doubt about the original of jiguratwe expression : even 
as they had doubted about the original of hieroglyphic 
paint trig: whereas, in truth, the first, like the latter, 
owed its birth to mere want and rusticity; that is, a 
want of words, and rusticity of conception. To give an 
instance of the first want, in the PLEONASM; of the lat 
ter, in the METAPHOR : for Eastern speech abounds 
with these jig u res ; they constitute its pride and beauty; 
and to excel in them, consists the art of their orators 
and poets. 

1 . The Pleonasm evidently arose from the narrowness 
of a simple language : the Hebrew, in which this figure 
abounds, is the scantiest of all the learned languages of 
the East : Amant (says Grotius) Hebrtfi verborum co- 
piam\ itaque rem eandem midtis verbis evprimunt*. 
He does not tell us the reason ; but it is seen above, 
arid appears to be the true: for when the speaker s 
phrase conies not up to his ideas (as in a scanty lan 
guage it often will not), he naturally endeavours to 
explain himself by a repetition of the thought in other 
words ; as he whose body is straitened in room is never 
relieved but by a continual change of posture. We may 
observe this to happen frequently in common conversa 
tion ; where the conception of the speaker is stronger 
than his expression. The most scanty language there 
fore will be always fullest of repetitions, which is the 
only copia in that which Grotius speaks of. 

2. The Metaphor arose as evidently from rusticity of 
conception, as the pleonasm from the want of words. 
The first simple ages, uncultivated, and irnmerged in 
sense, could express their rude conceptions of abstract 
Ideas, and the reflex operations of the mind, only by 
material images; which, so applied, became metaphors. 
This, and not the warmth of a florid and improved 
fancy, as is commonly supposed, w r as the true original 
of figurative expression. We see it even at this day in 
the style of the American savages, though of the coldest 
and most phlegmatic complexions, such as the Iroquois 
of the Northern continent ; of whom a learned mission 
ary says : " They affect a lively close expression, like 

* InHab.ii. J. 



" tho Lacedemonians ; yet for all that their style \sjigu- 
" rative, and wholly metaphorical*" Their phlegm 
could only make their style concise, not take away the 
figures; and the conjunction of these different characters 
in it, shews plainly that metaphors were from necessity, 
not choice. The very same character, in other words, 
Diodorus gives of the style of the ancient Gauls : In 
conversation, says he, they use the utmost brevity., at 
tended with a highly figurative obscurity : their speech 
abounds with a licentious kind of Synecdoche, which 
leaves much to the hearer to unriddle and divine ; and 
also with hyperboles^-. 

But we need not these far-fetched examples. He 
who will only reflect on what is so common as generally 
to escape reflection, may observe, that the common 
people are always most given to speak in figures. Ci 
cero observed this long ago, where encouraging the use 
of metaphors, even in, the simpler style, he says, Trans- 
latione fortasse crebrior, qua frequentissime sermo omnis 
utitur non modo urbanorurn, sed etiam rusticorum. 
Siquidem est eorum, gemmare vites, sit ire agros, l&tas 
csse segeteSj luxuriosa frumenta. Nihil horurn pariun 
audacter, sed aut simile est illi,. unde transferas : aut, 
si res suuin nuilum habet nomeri, docendi causa sump- 
turn, aut ludendi vidctur^. Hence too, the people s 
delight in that other figure of speech, PROVERBS, a pas 
sion not stronger in our own times than in those of 
Aristotle; who observes ol -AFPOIKOI ^aWa TNflMO- 
TTI1OI slo-l. And the gross images under which prover 
bial truths in all languages are conveyed, shew they only 
delighted in their own inventions : for, to the People, it 
is certain, we are altogether indebted for this species of 

It is true, when gross conception met with a warm 
imagination which delighted in painting strong and lively 
images, and was improved by exercise and use, figura 
tive expression would be soon adorned with all the 
flourishes of wit. For WIT consists in using strong meta- 
phoric images in uncommon yet apt allusions : just as 

* See note [YY] at the end of this Book, 
t See note [ZZ] at the end of this Book. 
% Orator, cap, xxiv, 



ancient Egyptian WISDOM did in hieroglyphic symbols 
fanciful 1)^ analogized. Plato perhaps had something of 
this in his thoughts (if he had not, he had hardly any 
thing so good) uhen he observed to Alcihiades, that the 
People was an excellent master of language*. 

Thus we see it has ever been the way of men, both in 
Speech and Writing, as well as in Clothes and Habita 
tions, to turn their wants and necessities into parade and 
ornament -)~. 

I V. In the first parallel between Speech and Writing, 
we have compared metaphors to the letters of an alpha 
bet ; and how well the parallel runs may be further seen 
from hence: The Egyptians had, as has been shewn, 
two sorts of alphabetic letters, the one popular, the 
other sacerdotal-, so had the Ancients in general two 
sorts of metaphors ; one open and intelligible, another 
hidden and mysterious. The prophetic writings are full 
of this latter sort. To instance only in the famous pre 
diction of Balaam: There shall come a STAR out of 
Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel^. This 
prophecy may possibly in some sense relate to David ; 
but, without question, it belongs principally to Jesus : 
the metaphor of a sceptre was common and popular, to 
denote a ruler, like David ; but the star, though it also 
signified, in the prophetic writings ||, a temporal prince 
or ruler, yet had a secret and hidden meaning likewise : 
a star in the Egyptian hieroglyphics denoted GOD^ : 
and how much hieroglyphic writing influenced the east 
ern languages we shall see presently. Thus GOD, in the 
prophet Amos, reproving the Israelites for their idolatry 
on their first coming out of Egypt, says : " Ye have 
" born the tabernacle of your Moloch, and Chiun your 
" images, THE STAR OF YOUR GOD, which ye made to 
" yourselves**." The star of your GOD is a sublime 
figure to signify the image of your GOD ; for a star being 
employed in hieroglyphics to signify GOD, it is used here 
with great elegance, to signify the material image of a 

* See note [A A A] at the end of this Book, 
t See note [BBBj at the end of this Book. 
J Numb. xxiv. 17. || Dan. viii. 10. 

^[ Ar^p tffaf AtytaltoK yga^o/As*^ EON <7i3^c^. Horapol. Hie- 
rog. lib. ii. cap. i. ** Chap. v. 25, 26. 

GOD : 


GOD: the words, the star of your COD, being only a 
repetition, so usual in the Hebrew tongue, of the pre 
ceding, Chlun your images. Hence we conclude that 
the metaphor here used by Balaam of a star was of that 
abstruse mysterious kind ; and is so to be understood ; 
and consequently that it related only in the mysterious 
sense to CHRIST, the eternal son of GOD. 

We have observed how Symbols, which came from 
open Hieroglyphics, lost their mysterious nature, and 
recovered again their primitive use in the flourishing ages 
of Greece and Rome. Just so again it was with the 
Parable-, which coming from the simple Apologue, 
often returned to its first clearness, and became a pro 
verb plain and intelligible to all. " In that day (says 
" the prophet Micali) shall one take up a Parable 
" against you*," &c. " Shall not all these (says Ha- 
" bakkuk) take up a Parable against him, and a taunt- 
" ing proverb against him, and say-)-," &c. 

Thus WRITING and LANGUAGE, throughout all their 
various modes, ran exactly the same fortune : invented 
out of necessity, to communicate men s thoughts to one 
another; they were continued out of choice, for mystery 
and ornament ; and they ended at last as they began, in 
the way of popular information. 

Hitherto we have considered the relation only as they 
stand in an independent parallel ; but as they are only 
two different ways of communicating the same concep 
tions, they must needs have a mighty influence upon one 
another. To explain this in the manner it deserves 
would require a just volume; and as a properer place 
may be found for it, when we come to consider the ob 
jections to the style of Scripture, it will be sufficient just 
to touch upon it at present. 

i. The influence Language would have on the fn>t 
kind of writing, which was hieroglyphical, is easy to 
conceive. Language, we have shewn, was, out of 
mere necessity, highly figurative, and full of material 
images; so that when men first thought of recording 
their conceptions, the writing would be, of course, that 
very picture which was before painted in the fancy, and 
from thence, delineated in words : Even long* after, 

* Chap. ii. 4. f Ibid. ver. 6. 



when figurative speech was continued out of choice, and 
adorned with all the invention of wit, as amongst the 
Greeks and Romans, and that the genius of the simpler 
hieroglyphic-writing was again revived for ornament, in 
EMBLEMS and DEVICES, the poetic habit of personal 
izing every thing, filled their coins, their arches, their 
altars, c. with all kinds of imaginary Beings. All the 
qualities of the mind, all the affections of the body, ail 
the properties of countries, cities, rivers, mountains, be 
came the seeds of living things : for, 

" as IMAGINATION bodied forth 
c< The forms of things unknown, the artist s hand 
" Turn d them to shape, and gave to airy nothing 
" A local habitation and a name *." 

2. The reciprocal influence hieroglyphic writing would 
have on language is as evident. The Chinese, we have 
seen, used this kind of writing, as well as the Egyptians ; 
and the character given of their language is entirely cor 
respondent : " The style of the Chinese, in their com- 
" positions, (says Du II aide), is MYSTERIOUS, concise, 
" ALLEGORIC, and sometimes obscure. They say much 
" in few words. Their expressions are lively, ani- 
" mated, and thick sown with bold comparisons, and 
" noble metaphors f." Their style, we see, was concise 
andjigicrative; the very character, as we have seen, of 
all the barbarous nations upon earth, both ancient and 
modern ; for Nature is ever uniform. The cold phleg 
matic temper of the Chinese made their style short and 
laconic ; the use of hieroglyphics made it figurative ; 
and from this mixture it became obscure : but had those 
remote inhabitants of the East and West possessed the 
warm imagination of the proper Asiatics, then had their 
language, like that of the people spoken of above, 
abounded with pleonasms instead of laconisms. The old 
Asiatic style, so highly figurative, seems likewise, by 

* Shakespeare. 

f Le Stile des Chinois dansleurs compositions estmysterieux, con- 
cis, allegurique, & quelquefois obscur. Ils disent beaucoup de choses 
en peu de paroles. Leurs expressions sont vives, animees & semee^ 
de comparaisons hardies, de metaphores nobles. Descr. de 1 Eiii- 
pire de la Chine, torn. ii. p. 2-27. Paris, 1735, 

23 what 


what we find of its remains, in the prophetic language 
of the sacred writers, to have been evidently fashioned 
to the mode of ancient Hieroglyphics, both curiologic 
and tropical. Of the first kind are the figurative ex 
pressions of spotted garments, to denote iniquity ; an 
intoxicating draught, to signify error and misery; the 
sword and bow, a warrior a gigantic stature, a mighty 
leader ; balance, weights and measures, a judge or ma 
gistrate ; arms, a powerful nation, like the Roman. Of 
the second kind, which answers to the tropical hierogly 
phic, is the calling empires, kings, and nobles, bv the 
names of the heavenly luminaries, the sun, moon, and 
stars-, their temporary disasters or entire overthrow, 
denoted by eclipses and extinctions-, the destruction of 
the Nobility, by stars failing from the firmament ; 
hostile invasions, by thunder and tempestuous winds , 
and leaders of armies, conquerors, and founders of em 
pire, by Horn-, bears, leopards, goats, or high trees. 
In a word, the prophetic style seems to be a SPEAKING 


These observations will not only assist us in the intel 
ligence of the Old and New Testament, but likewise 
vindicate their character from the illiterate cavils of mo 
dern libertines, who have foolishly mistaken that colour 
ing for the peculiar workmanship of the speaker s heated 
imagination, which was the sober established language 
of their times; a language which GOD and his Son con 
descended to employ, as the properest vehicle of the 
high mysterious ways of Providence, in the revelation of 
themselves to mankind. 

But to come to a conclusion. We must observe in 
the last place, that, besides the many changes which the 
ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics underwent, they at length 
suffered a very perverse corruption. It hath been al 
ready seen, how the MYSTERIES, that other grand 
vehicle of Egyptian wisdom, degenerated into magic: 
just so it happened with the HIEROGLYPHICS ; for their 
characters being become, in a proper sense, sacred (as 
will be explained hereafter), it disposed the more super 
stitious to engrave them upon gems, and wear them as 
amulets or charms. But this abuse seems not to have 
been much earlier than the established worship of the 



God Serapis : which happened under the Ptolemys; and 
was first brought to the general knowledge of the world 
by certain Christian heretics*, and natives of Egypt, 
who had mingled a number of Pagan superstitions with 
their Christianity. These gems, called ABRAXAS, fre 
quently to be met with in the cabinets of the curious, 
are engraven with all kinds of hieroglyphic characters. 
For this abusive original, we have the testimony of llu- 
finus the ecclesiastical historian, contemporary with 
St. Jerome : IVho can reckon up, says he, the horrid 
superstitions practised at Canopus? where under pre 
tence of interpreting the SACERDOTAL LETTERS, jfor so 
they call the ancient Egyptian characters, a public 
school may be almost said to be opened for the teaching 
magical arts^. Hence these characters caine to be 
called Chaldaic, the Chaldeans being particularly ad 
dicted to magic. So Cassiodorus, speaking of the obe 
lisks in the Roman circus, which were brought from 
Egypt, calls the inscriptions on them Chaldaica signa J : 
To the Abraxas afterwards succeeded TALISMANS j| : 
which (mixed, like the other, with the dotages of judicial 
astrology) are held in high reverence to this day, in all 
Mahometan countries. And here let me observe, that 
from the low date of these kinds of charms may be seen 
the impertinence of what Sir John Marsham brings from 
late Greek and Roman writers, to confront and discredit 
the mysterious elevation of the brazen serpent in -the 
wilderness ^[. 

But what must we think of KTRCHER, who hath mis 
taken these superstitions for the ancient Egyptian wis 
dom : and setting up with this magic, and that other of 
the mysteries, which the later Piatonists and Pythago 
reans had jumbled together, in the production of their 
fanatic-philosophy, soon ingrossed, in imagination, all 

* See note [CCC] at the end of this Book. . 

-|- Canopi quis enumeret snperstitiosa jlagitia ? Ubi pr&tcxlu, 
SACERDOTALIUM LITEIIAHUM, ita cnim appellant antiquas ^Egypti- 
ortim literas, Magicce tirtis erat pene pubtica schola. Eccles. hist; 
lib. li. cap. xxvi. 

i Ubi t>acra priscorum Chaldaicis signis, quasi liter is^ indicant ur. 
Lib. hi. ep. 51. et lib. hi. ep. 2. 

|| See note [ODD] at the end of this Book. 

^[ See note [EKli] at the end of this Book, 



the treasures of Antiquity"-? However, to be just, it 
must be owned that he was misled by the Ancients them 
selves ; some of whom imagined that the very first hie 
roglyphics were tainted with this magical pollution, just 
as some Moderns would have the first Mysteries to be 
corrupted by debauched practices. So Lucan, speak 
ing of the times before alphabetic writing, says, 

" Nonclum flumineas Memphis contexere Biblos 
: Noverat, et saxis tantum, volucresque feraeque 

" Sculptaque servabant MAGICAS animalia LINGUAS." 
Here, we see, the abuse and the invention are made 
coeval. An extravagant error, which the least attention 
to the history of the human mind and the progress of 
its operations might have prevented. 

To conclude, I have here presumed to dispute an 
unquestioned proposition, That the Egyptians invented 
hieroglyphics for the sake of secrecy. It will be well if 
the evidence of the reasoning may excuse the singularity 
of the paradox. This is certain, the subject hath long 
remained in obscurity; and as certain, that I have, 
some how or other, been able to throw a little scattered 
light into the darkest corners of it. Whether the com- 
mon opinion occasioned the obscurity, and the notion 
here advanced has contributed to remove it, is left for the 
candid reader to determine f . 


And now to apply this matter to the proof of our Pro 
position ; for this long Discourse on Hieroglyphic writing 

* The following are three of his six Postulata on which he founds 
his whole in erpreUtion of the Egypti i^Meroglyphics : 

i . Hieroglyphica JEgyptiorum doctrina mini aliud cst quam arcana 
de Deo, dninisque Idiis, Angclis, Dcemonibus, cceterisq; mundana- 
rum potestatum dassibus ordinibusque scientia, saxis potissimum m- 

5. Hieroglyphica Symbola non tantiim sublimium erant significativa 
sacramentorum ; scd fy naturalcm quandam efficaciam habere credcban- 
tur, turn ad Genios bonos quibuscum occultam, fy in abdtta nature, 
abysso latent em sympathiam. habere putabantur, attrdliendos ; turn ad 
contraries ft anfitechnos Genios, ob eorundem cum Us antipat hiam , 
coercendos projitg mdosquc. 

6. Hierogiypinca Symbola nihil aliud quclm prophylactica quccdam 
signa, omnium malorum averruncativa, ob mirijicum catenarum mtin.- 
dialium co7isensum connexionemque, esse existimabantur. 

CEdip. ^gypt. torn. iii. p. 4, 
i See note [FFF] at the end of this Book, 

Vox, IV. N is 


is particularly given to deduce from its nature, origin, 
and use, an internal argument for the high antiquity of 
Egyptian learning. 

Let us see then how the evidence stands : The true 

.Egyptian learning, which the early Greek Sages brought 
from thence to adorn their own country, was, by the 
concurrent testimony of these writers, all contained in 
Hieroglyphics. They record a simple fact; and, in a 
fact of this nature, they could not be deceived ; though 
in the causes of it they well might; and, as we have 
shewn, indeed were. But hieroglyphic- writing thus in- 

vented, was improved into a contrivance to record their 
secret wisdom, long before an Alphabet was found out; 
and yet an alphabet was of so high and almost immemo 
rial antiquity as to pass for an invention of the Gods : 
and consequently to deceive some men into an opinion 
that Letters were prior in time to Hieroglyphics *. 

To this it may be objected, " That, as I pretend 
Hieroglyphics were not invented for secrecy, but after 
wards turned to that use, and even employed in it, long 
after the invention of alphabetic letters, it might very 
well be, that this profound learning, which all agree to 
have been recorded in Hieroglyphics, was the product 
of ages much below the antiquity enquired after." 

Now, not to insist upon the Grecian testimony, which 
makes the learned hieroglyphics coeval with the first 
race of kings ; I reply, and might well rest the matter 
on this single argument, That if at the invention of 
letters, much high-prized learning had not been con 
tained in Hieroglyphics, but only plain memorials of 
civil matters, no plausible reason can be given why the 
Egyptians did not then discontinue a way of writing so 
troublesome and imperfect. It hath been shewn, that 
in the very early ages of the world, all nations, as well 
as the Egyptian, used to record the succession of time 

~ and revolutions of State in hieroglyphic characters : but, 
.of these, none, besides the Egyptians, continued to 

, write by marks for things, after the invention of letters. 
All others immediately dropt their hieroglyphics on the 
discovery of that more commodious method. The rea 
son of which is plain ; all others were totally unlearned 
* -See note [GGG] at the $nd of this Book. 


in those periods of their existence preceding the know* 
ledge of letters; consequently, as their hieroglyphic 5 
were employed in nothing but to record the rude annals 
of their history, they had no inducement to continue 
them : but at this remarkable sera, Egypt was very 
learned : and hieroglyphics being the repositories of its 
learning, these monuments would be in high veneration, 
and that veneration would perpetuate their use. There is 
but one example perhaps in the world, besides the Egyp 
tian, where a people s learning was first recorded in 
hieroglyphic characters ; and this one example will sup 
port our argument: the people I mean are the CHI 
NESE ; who, as the Missionaries assure us, bear such 
esteem and reverence for their ancient character, that, 
, when they find it curiously written, they prefer it to the 
most elegant painting, and purchase the least scrap at 
an excessive price : they will not (we are told) apply the 
paper even of any common book, on which these charac 
ters are written, to a profane or vulgar use ; and their 
joiners and masons do not dare to tear a printed leaf 
which they find pasted to the wall or wainscot *. Now 
if at length, these people should be prevailed on to use 
the more excellent way of writing with the letters of an 
alphabet, can any one doubt but that their Mandarins 
would still continue these venerable hieroglyphic charac 
ters in their works of Science and Religion? Thus, 
what we see would be the case here was without all 
question the case of the Egyptians ; Characters become 
the vehicle of such treasures of learning must be in the 
highest reverence : and, indeed, the name of Hierogly 
phics, under which they were delivered to the Greeks, 
shews they were in fact thus reverenced f. But that 

* Ils preferent mme un beau caractere a la plus admirable pein- 
tflre, & Ton en voit souvent qui achetent bien cher une page de vieux 
caracteres, quand ils sont bien formez. Ils hoiiorent leurs carae- 
teres jusques dans les livres les plus ordinaires, si par hasard 
quelques feiiilies etoient tombees, ils les ramussent avec respect : ce 
seroit, selon eux, un grossierete , >V vine impolitesse, d en faire un 
usdge prufane, de les fouler aux pieds en marcthtnt, de les jetter 
meme avec indifference ; souvent il arrive, que les menuisiers & les 
mucous n osent pas dechirer une feiiille imprirnee, qui se trouve 
collee sur le mur, ou sur le bois. Ils oraignent de faire une faute. 
Du Halde, Descr. de 1 Empire de 1* Chine, torn, ii. p. 228. 

t See p. 120; and see note [HHH] at the end of this Book. 

N 2 learning 


learning which was contained in hieroglyphics, and was, 
of itself, sufficient to perpetuate their use, gave birth to 
a tradition which would effectually secure it ; and this 
was, that the GODS themselves invented hieroglyphic 

On the whole, The argument drawn from their CON 
TINUED USE seems so sure a proof of the high antiquity 
of Egyptian learning in general, that one might safely 
rest the whole upon it : But to remove all cavil, I shall 
proceed to other, and, as I think, incontestable proofs 
of the antiquity of that learning, and particularly the 
theologic : the one taken from the true original of the art 
of ONIRO-CRITIC, or interpretation of dreams ; and the 
other from the true original of ANIMAL WORSHIP : both 
of these fantastic superstitions being the genuine and pe 
culiar growth of EGYPT. 

I. The art of ONIROCRITIC, from whose original I 
deduce my first proof, made a very considerable part of 
ancient Pagan religion. Artemidorus, who lived about 
the beginning of the second century, and wrote a treatise 
on Dreams, collected from much earlier writers, divides 
dreams into two kinds, the speculative and the allego 
rical* ; the first kind is that which presents a plain and 
direct picture of the matter about which the Dream gives 
information ; the second is an oblique intimation of it, 
by a tropical or symbolic image: This latter, which 
makes up the large farrago of dreams, is the only kind 
that needs an Interpreter; on which account Macrobius 
defines a Dream to be the notice of something hid in 
allegory which wants to be explained^. 

So that the question will be, on what grounds or rules 
of interpretation the Onirocritics proceeded, when, if a 
man dreamt of a dragon, the Interpreter assured him it 
signified majesty ; if of a serpent, a disease ; a viper, 
money ; frogs, impostors ; pigeons and stock-doves, wo 
men - 9 partridges, impious persons , a swallow, sorrow, 

f o ft.v, i 
ply, ol rvj eavluv Sea 

a,Xha, c-jj^aWle?. Arteimd. Oneir. lib. i. cap. 2. 
f Somnium propne vocatur, quod tegit figuris et velut ambagibus, 
non nisi -interpretation* intelligenduin, significationem rei qua? de- 
inonstratur* In bomn. Scrip, lib. i. cap. $, 

j .. - - death, 


death, and disaster-, cats, adultery, the ichneumon, 
deceitful and mischievous men *, $c. for the whole art of 
ancient onirocritic was concerned in these remote and 
mysterious relations. Now tlie early Interpreters of 
dreams were not -juggling impostors ; but, like the early 
judicial Astrologers, more superstitious than their neigh 
bours ; and so the iirst who fell into their own delusions. 
However, suppose them to have been as arrant cheats as 
any of their successors, yet at their first setting up they 
must have had materials proper for their trade ; which 
could never be the wild workings of each man s private 
fancy. Their customers would look to find a known "ana 
logy, become venerable by long application to -mysterious 
wisdom, for the groundwork of their deciphering ; and 
the Decipherers themselves would as naturally fly to 
some confessed authority, to support their pretended 
Science. But what ground or authority could this be, 
if not the mysterious learning of symbolic characters? 
Here we seem to have got a solution of the difficulty. 
The Egyptian priests, the first interpreters of dreams, 
took their rules for this species of DIVINATION, from 
their symbolic riddling, in which they were so deeply read : 
A ground of interpretation which would give the strongest 
credit to the Art ; and equally satisfy the Diviner and 
the Consulter : for by this time it was generally believed 
that their Gods had given them hieroglyphic writing. 
So that nothing was more natural than to imagine that 
these Gods, who in their opinion gave dreams likewise, 
had employed the same mode of expression in both re 
velations. This, I suppose, was the true original f of 
onirocritic, or the interpretation of those dreams called 
allegorical; that is, of dreams in general ; for the wild- 
ness of an unbridled fancy will make almost all natural 
dreams to be of that kind. It is true, the Art being 
now well established, every age adorned it with addi 
tional superstitions ; so that at length the old foundation 
became quite lost in these new incrustations. 

If this account of its original stood in need of farther 
evidence, I might urge the rules of interpretation here 
given from Artemidorus, and a great many more which 

* Vid. Artemidor. f See note [III] at the end of this Book. 

N 3 might 


might have been given ; all of them conformable to the 
symbolic hieroglyphics in Horapollo. 

Herodotus, in Clio, tells us, how Cyrus, dreaming 
that young Darius had WINGS on his shoulders, which, 
when spread out, shaded Asia and Europe, understood this 
dream by the assistance of his Interpreters, to signify 
(as we must needs conclude) a conspiracy formed against 
him by that young man. Now Sanchoniatho tells us * 
that in the most ancient hieroglyphic writing, a supreme 
governor was designed by a man with four WINGS, and 
his lieutenants or princes under him by a man with two : 
and that their being out-stretched signified action or 
design j*. 

But there is one remarkable circumstance which puts 
the matter out of all doubt. The technical term used 
by the Onirocritics for the phantasms seen in dreams, 
was 2TOIXEIA , elements. It would be hard to give a 
good account of the use of so odd a term on any other 
supposition than the derivation of onirocritic from sym 
bolic writing. On that supposition it is easy and evident ; 
for symbolic marks || were called 2TOIXEIA. Now when 
they used symbols to decipher dreams, nothing was 
more natural than to give the same significative images, 
on the stone and in the fancy, the same appellation. 

The reason why the Egyptian priests (who, we have 
seen, used the Greek tongue very early) called their hie 
roglyphic and symbolic marks STO^?*, was because, in 
this way of writing, they employed all kinds of natural 
entities, to denote their mental conceptions ; the proper 
signification of Srci^r* bein^ the first elements and 
principles of things, out of which all beings arise, and, 
of which, they are compounded . Hence it came that 
alphabetic letters, which were an improvement on hiero 
glyphics and received their first shapes from hieroglyphic 
images, were called STo^fia. 

So much for the original of onirocritic. To bring it 
o the point, we are next to consider its antiquity. Now 

* See above, p, 122. 

t See note [KKIO at the end of this Book. 
J See note [LLL] at the end of this Book. 
See note [MMM] at the end of this Book, 
Jj See p. 120. 



Scripture leads us to the practice of this art as high up as 
the age of Joseph. 

Pharaoh had two dreams * ; one of seven kine, the 
other of seven ears of corn. We see both these phan 
tasms [Sro^ra] were symbols of Egypt : The ears de 
noting its distinguished fertility ; the kme, its great 
tutelary patroness, Isis. Pharaoh knew thus much 
without an Interpreter ; and hence arose his solicitude 
and anxiety to understand the rest, as a matter that 
concerned the Public : Accordingly, when Joseph f 
comes to decipher these dreams, he does not tell the king 
that the two sevens denoted seven years in Egypt, but 
simply seven years : The scene of the famine needed no 
deciphering. Unlike, in this, to the interpretation of 
Daniel, when Nebuchadnezzar saw in a dream a fair 
and high tree ; which being the symbol of majesty in 
general, the prophet explains its particular meaning, 
" The tree that thou sawest it is THOU, O king J." . 

The argument therefore stands thus : the Omrocritics 
borrowed their art of deciphering from symbolic hiero 
glyphics. But this could not be till hieroglyphics were 
become sacred, by being made the cloudy vehicle of 
their Theology ; because, till then, hieroglyphics had 
neither authority enough to support the credit of those 
interpretations, nor a perplexity sufficiently copious to 
support the mystery of this application. But by the 
time hieroglyphics were become sacred, Egypt was very 
learned. Now they were sacred in the days of Joseph, 
as appears from the use of interpreting dreams according 
to those Symbols. Therefore learned Egypt of very 
high antiquity. 

II. My second argument for this antiquity is deduced 
from the true original of ANIMAL-WORSHIP ; and stands 
thus : We have observed, that in those improved hiero 
glyphics, called Symbols (in which, it is confessed, the 
ancient Egyptian learning was contained) the less obvious 
properties of animals occasioned their becoming marks, 
by analogical adaption, for very different ideas, whether 
of substances or modes ; which plainly intimates that 

* Gen.xli. 

t See note [NNN] at the end of this Book. 

J Dan. iv. 19, 20,21. 

N 4 physical 


physical knowledge had been long cultivated. Now these 
symbols I hold to be the true original of ANIMAL- 
WORSHIP in Egypt. But animal worship was the esta 
blished worship in the time of MOSES, as is evident from 
the book qf Exodus: Therefore the Egyptian learning 
was of this high antiquity *. The only proposition, in 
this argument, that needs any proef, is the iirst. The 
reasons therefore which induce me to think symbolic 
writing to be the sole origin of Animal-worship are 
these : 

1. This kind of idolatry was peculiar to the Egyptian 
superstition ; and almost unknown to ail the Casts oi pa 
ganism, but such as were evidently copied from that 
original f : MOSES treats it as their distinguishing su 
perstition J : The Greeks and Romans, though at a loss 
for its original, yet speak of it as the peculiar extrava 
gance of Egypt : And the most intelligent of the 
moderns consider it in the very same light ||/ 

2. The Egyptians not only worshipped Animals, but 
PLANTS; and, in a word, every kind of being that had 
qualities remarkably singular or efficacious ; because all 
these had found their place in symbolic writing : For, as 
hath been shewn, when Hieroglyphics came to be em 
ployed for mystery, no sooner was one symbol grown 
common and vulgar, than another was invented of a 
more recondite meaning : so that the animal, vegetable, 
and mineral kingdoms, would be all explored to paint 
the histories of their Gods. 

* See note [OOO] at the end of this Book. 

t Such as the several Gentile nations of Palestine and India. 

| Dent. iv. 14 21. 

|| The learned Fourmont thus expresses himself: -Mais pour 
parler implement fy sansfard, ilfuudra bon gre malgre en revenir d 
cecij que /es Egyptiens etoient, ct, s ils pensoient un peu, devoient se 
croirc eux memes un peuplefort extravagant , on napoiheosc point sans 
folie les Oign >m et les Asperses : que pensez encore des Dieux Oiseaux, 
Poissuns, Scrpcns, Crocodiles ? mats non-seulcmcnt Us ai oient dcijie 
.les animaux \ ce qui est plus et range encore, infatuez de la J\Jc- 
fympsjfCQSL, Us s ttoicnt cntliou$iawicz la dtssus de Mystagoqies incom- 
prehentibltfs. Leurs pretres, par un zele quon ne connoit pas trop, 
setoient rendus les Prcdicateurs de ces manes folies ; <^ Us en avoicnt 
dans leurs conquetes, on par des missions, infecte tout TJnde, toute la 
Chine, tout le Japon. Reflex, fyit. sur les Hist, des Anc. Peuples. 
torn. i. p. 227. 

3. Besides 


3. Besides the adoration of almost every thins existing, 
the Egyptians worshipped a thousand Chimeras of then- 
own creation : Some with human bodies, and the head 
or feet of brutes; others with brutal bodies, and the 
heads or feet of men ; while others again were a fantastic 
compound of the several parts of beasts, birds, and rep 
tiles, terrestrial and aquatic: For besides the simpler 
method, in hieroglyphic writing, of expressing their hero- 
gods by an intire plant or animal, there were two others 
which the more circumstantial history of those deities 
brought in use. Thus when the subject was only one 
single quality of a god or hero, the human shape was 
only partially deformed * ; as with the head of a doo-, 
hawk, or ram, to denote fidelity, vigilance, or strength^ 
with the feet and thighs of a goat, to represent rusticity, 
agility, or lust ; and this gave being to their Anubis 
Pan, and Jupiter Ammon : But where the subject re 
quired a fuller catalogue of the hero s virtues or useful 
qualities, there they employed an assemblage of the 
several parts of various animals : each of which, in hie 
roglyphic writing, was significative of a distinct property : 
in which assemblage, that animal, more peculiarly 
representative of the God, was most conspicuous. This 
will explain the verse of Antidides in his hymn to the 

HfAioj $\ Noroio "Ai/a IEPAE IIOAYMOP$E. 
The sun was generally expressed by a hawk ; but this 
symbolic hawk, under various considerations, had the 
various parts of other animals added to it. 

4. That animal which was worshipped in one city 
was sacrificed in another. Thus, though at Memphis 
they adored the ox, at Mendes the goat, and at Thebes 
the ram; yet, in one place or other, each of these 
animals was used in sacrifice : but bulls and clean calves 
were offered up in all places. The reason of this can 
only ^ be that at Memphis the ox was, in hieroglyphic 
learning, the symbol of some deitv; at Mendes the troat ; 
and at Thebes the ram; but the bull and calf no where : 

do Ah \ - 



For what else can be said for the original of so fantastical 
a diversity in representative deities within a kingdom of 
one national religion ? But farther : the same animal 
was feasted in one place, with divine honours ; in another 
it was pursued with the direst execrations. Thus, at 
Arsinoe, the crocodile was adored ; because having no 
tongue it was made in hieroglyphic writing the symbol 
of the divinity * ; elsewhere it was had in horror, as being 
made in the same writing the symbol of Typhon f ; that 
is, it was used as a sacred character in the history both 
of their natural and civil Theology. 

5. Brute- worship was, at Jirst, altogether objective 
to their hero-gods ; of whom animals were but the re 
presentatives. This is seen from the rank they hold on 
ancient monuments ; from the unvaried worship of some 
few of them, as the Apis, which still continued to be 
adored as the representative of Osiris : and from the 
express testimony of Herodotus ; who says, that, when 
the Egyptians addressed the sacred Animal, their de 
votions were paid to that God to whom the beast be 
longed J. 

6. But to make the matter still plainer, it may be 
observed, that the most early brute-worship in Egypt 
was not an adoration of the living animal, but only of 
its picture or image. This truth Herodotus seems to 
hint at in Euterpe, where he says, the Egyptians erected 
the first altars, images, and temples to the gods, and 
carved the FIGURES OF ANIMALS on stones ||. Now, 
were the original of brute-worship any other than what 
is here supposed, the living animal must have been first 

* Plutarch, in general, tells us, that the Egyptians thus considered 
the crocodile ; but this author, for private ends, delivering a false 
original of Animal-worship, it was not to his purpose to tell us it 
" was so considered in symbolic writing : a p^v a^i o Kgcxo ^A^- aTs 
7t6a<)}S a-,a(,i^S(7i/ tcr^xe npiiv, aAAa /At^u/Aa $ hiytlat yefovtva,^ /x-oj^ 
p\v ayhueff* uv (fuvviq yap 5 $<<& XoyJ^ atTrpocr^s If* De Is. & Osir... 

f The subsequent doctrine of the Metempsychosis soon made this 
the foundation of a fable, that the soul of Typhon had passed into a 
crocodile, -that Typhon had assumed that figure, fyc. See JElian r s 
Hist, of Animals, lib. x. cap. 21. 

J Of ^I C Tijtri CToAtfft ffxrOf *%<*? 

TO Sypiov lib, ii. .65. 
<x, xj v^ 
c, 4. 



worshipped, and the image of it would have been only 
an attendant superstition. From the SECOND COM 
MANDMENT, and Moses s exhortation to obedience, it ap 
pears that the Egyptians at the time of the Exodus, wor 
shipped no living animal, but the picture or image only : 
" Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. Thou 
" shalt not make unto thee any graven iuiage, or any 
" likeness of any thing that is in heaven above or that is 
" in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the 
<{ earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, 
" nor serve them *." Thus speaks the law of the first 
table ; by which we not only see that brute-worship was 
under an image, but that such image was symbolical of 
Gods different from the animal pictured, and alluded to 
iivthe words, Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. 
Another thing observable in the law is, that not only the 
making pictures and images for adoration was forbidden, 
but the simple making of them at all. And thus the 
Jews understood it. The consequence was, that hie- 
roglyphics were forbidden : a strong proof of their being 
the source of the idolatry in question. MOSES, in his 
exhortation to the people, paraphrases and explains this 
law : * Take ye, therefore, good heed unto yourselves (for 
" ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the, 
61 LORD spake to you in Horeb, out of the midst of the 
" fire) lest ye corrupt yourselves and make you a graven 
" image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male 
" or female, the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, 
" the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, 
<c the likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, 
" the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the 
" earth f." There are two important conclusions to 
be drawn from the reason of this exhortation, for you 
saw no manner of similitude, 8$c. The first is, that the 
Egyptian brute-worship was symbolical ; the other, that 
MOSES S prime intention was to warn the people against 
representing the GOD of Israel under the stiape of men 
or animals, in the guise of the greater Gods of Egypt. 

* Exod. xx. 3, 4, 5. 

f Peut. iv. 15, 16, 17, 18, 



This observation will open our way to another circum 
stance, which shews that the worship of the living animal 
was not yet in use amongst the Egyptians ; and that is, 
the idolatrous erection of the golden calf*. The people 
now suspecting they had lost MOSES, whom they were 
taught to consider as the vicegerent, or representative of 
their GOD, grew impatient for another; and, besotted 
with Egyptian superstitions, chose for his representative 
the same which the Egyptians used for the symbol of 
their great God, Osiris. Interpreters seem to run into 
two different extremes concerning this matter, some con 
ceiving that the Israelites worshipped an Egyptian God 
under the golden calf-, though the worshippers themselves 
expressly declare the contrary : <c These (say they-) be thy 
<c Gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land 
" of Egypt |." Others suppose the calf was not made in 
imitation of any Egyptian symbol whatsoever, because 
it was the living Apis that represented Osiris ; but we 
see the worship of the living animal was not yet intro 
duced. However, in time, and in no long time neither, 
for it was as early as the Prophets, the Egyptians began 
to worship the animal ltsdf\ which worship, as might 
te well expected, prevailed at length over that of its 
image. Colunt effigies multorum animalium, atque ipsa 
MAG is ammalia, says Pomponius Mela J of the Egyp 
tians ; and this naturally gave birth to new superstitions ; 
for, as he goes on, Apis populorum omnium numcn est. 
Bos niger, cert is macidis insignis raro nascitur, nee 
coitu pecoris (lit amnt] sed divinitus & coelesti igne 

These considerations are sufficient to shew that hie 
roglyphics were indeed the original of brute-worship: 
And how easy it was for the Egyptians to fall into it 
from the use of this kind of writing, appears from hence. 
In these hieroglyphics was recorded the history of their 
greater, and tutelary deities, their kings and lawgivers ; 
represented by animals and other creatures. The symbol 
of each God was well known and familiar to his wor 
shippers, by means of the popular paintings and en- 

* See note [PPP] at the end of this Book. 

f Exod. xxxii. 4. \ De sit. orb, lib. i. cap. 6. 



gravings on their temples and other sacred monuments * : 
fo that the symbol presenting the idea of the God, and 
that idea exciting sentiments of religion, it was natural 
for them, in their addresses to any particular deity, to 
turn towards his representative, mark or symbol. This 
will be easily granted if we reflect, that when the Egyp 
tian priests began to speculate, and grow mysterious, 
they feigned a divine original for hieroglyphic characters, 
in order to render them still more august and venerable. 
This would, of course, bring on a relative devotion to 
these symbolic figures ; which, when it came to be paid 
to the living animal, would soon terminate in an ultimate 

But the occasional propensity to this superstition was, 
without question, forwarded and encouraged by the 
Priesthood ; for it greatly supported the worship of the 
hero-deities, by making their theology more intricate j 
and by keeping out of sight, what could not but weaken 
religious veneration in remote posterity, the naked truth, 
that they were only DEAD MEV DEIFIED. And these 
advantages they afterwards improved with notable address; 
by making those Symbols as well relative to new con 
ceived imaginary qualities and influences of their first 
natural gods, the host of heaven, as to what they pro 
perly respected, in hieroglyphic writing, their later heroes 
and tutelary deities ; Which trick, invented to keep the 
Egyptians in their superstition, spread so impenetrable 
an obscurity over paganism, as hindered the most saga 
cious Philosophers and knowing Antiquaries of Greece 
from ever getting a right view of the rise and progress 
of their own idolatry. 

And, if I be not much mistaken, it was the design of 
these Egyptian priests to commemorate the advantages 
of this contrivance in the celebrated fable j* of TYPHON S 
WAR WITH THE GO.DS ; who, distressed and terrified by 
this earth-born giant, fled from his persecution into 

This account is supported by Herodotus, where saying that the 
Egyptians Jirst of all raised altars, statues, and temples to the gods, 
he immediately adds, and engraved animals on stone : @upa<; re xj 
uyd^ctlae. ^ vr^; &i0r-cUroMifUKJ o^eas <srf#Ttf, x^ ZHA EN AI0OI2I 
EITAYAI. L. ii. c. 4. 

t Diod. Sicul. lib. i. p. 54. Steph. Ed. informs us, that this was an 
Egyptian fable : as does Lucian, in his tract De Sacrificiis. 



EGYPT ; and there hid themselves each under the form 
of a several ANIMAL. This adventure is related by Ovid 
in a very agreeable and artful manner, where he makes 
one of the impious Pierides sing it, in their contest with 
the Muses : 

Bella canit superum : Falsoque in honore gigantes 
Ponit, $ exteuuat < agnorum facta deorum ; 
Emissumque ima de sede Typhota terrcz 
Ccelitibus fecisse metum ; cunctosque dedisse 
Tergafugae: donee fessos ^EGYPTIA tdlus 
Ceperitj 8$ sept em discretus in ostia Nilus. 
Hue quoque tcrrigcnam venisse Typhota narrat, 
Et se MENTITIS superos celasse FJGURIS : 
Duxque gregis, dlvit, fit Jupiter : UNDE recurvis 
Nunc quoque formatus Libys est cum cornibus Ainmon. 
Delius in corvo, proles Semeleia capro, 
Fele soror Phcebi, nivea Saturnia vacca, 
Pisce Venus latuit, Cyllenius Ibidis alls *. 

Typhon, amongst the Egyptians, was the exemplar 
of impiety: so that under that name we are to understand 
the inquisitive, which the priests always surnamed the 
impious (such who in after-times followed the celebrated 
Euhemerus of Greece) ; these, in a malicious search into 
the genealogies of their Gods, had so near detected their 
original, and consequently endangered their worship, 
that the priests had nothing left but to perplex and em 
broil the enquiry, by encouraging the SYMBOLIC worship 
as explained above. Hence this fable (in which they ce 
lebrated the subtilty of their expedient) that Egypt af 
forded a place of refuge for the Gods ; who there lay 
hid under ihe forms of beasts. Where we must observe, 
that the shape each God was said to have assumed was 
that of his symbolic mark in hieroglyphic writing f. 
Indeed Antonius Liberalis J differs from Ovid in the 
particular transformations ; and Lucian ||, from them 
both ; but this rather confirms than weakens our inter 
pretation ; since each God, as we have seen, was de 
noted by divers hieroglyphics. We must not suppose, 

..* Metam. lib. v. fab. 5. 
\ See note [QQQ] at the end of this Book. 
I Cap. xxviii, jj De Sacrif. 

- however, 


however, that the whole of their distress came from the 
quarter of their enemies. More favourable enquirers 
would be a little troublesome. And the same expedient 
would keep them at a distance likewise. The Priests 
seem to have hinted at this case likewise, in the similar 
story they told Herodotus, " that Hercules was very 
desirous to see Jupiter, who was by no means consenting 
to this interview ; at last overcome by the hero s impor 
tunity, he eluded his curiosity, by this expedient : he 
flayed the carcass of a ram ; and investing himself with 
the skin separated with the head from the body, he pre 
sented himself under that appearance to the inquirer *." 
Herodotus himself seems to hint at something like the 
explanation of the fable of Typhon given above, where 
speaking of Pan soon after, and on the same occasion, 
he says, " The Egyptians represent Pan as the Grecians 
paint him, with the face and legs of a goat. Not that 
" they imagine this to be his real form, which is the same 
" with that of the other Gods. But I take no satis- 
" faction in recording the reason they give for repre- 
" senting him in this manner f/ From these two dif 
ferent v/ays of relating the circumstance of Jupiter s and 
Pan s disguises under a brutal form, it appears that tne 
Egyptian priests had two accounts concerning it, the exo 
teric and the esoteric. Herodotus, in the story of Jupiter, 
makes no scruple to record the first ; but the other, which 
concerns Pan s transformation, he did not care to touch 

If this explanation of the famous fable of Typhon 
needed any further support, we might find it in what the 
Egyptian Theologers continued to deliver down con 
cerning it. Diodorus Siculus, speaking of the difficulty 
in discovering the true original of Egyptian brute-worship, 
says, that the priests had a profound secret concerning 


TOJ> vopov TOJ^S cr^e TeOijvat. HgaxA/ce St^yo-cu wai/lo;? &V9* rov A, X; 
for &x !&Etv o^fiSjvai vv ccvra. reAo? ^e, gyrei Tt AJTaeetv TOV 

TOV A* jM.fjp^ay^aao GM, xpov jtosava < rrr^o^0 at T T*J> 

Ttt xfuv >tj ivbvvroc, TO yax0> WTW ot IUVTQV 7n&ai. Lib. ii. C. 3. 

Jar^ TO&TQV vofA.tvle<; tivcti pu, XX o^toiov roi o-i aMojaj StoTcri. 
Tot5To> 7p*9<rt WVTOX, * pw w^9 in P^yi**. Lib. ii, c. 46. 



it* : A strong presumption that this here delivered was 
the secret ; it being the only one which the Priests were 
much concerned to keep to themselves ; as we shall see 
when we come to speak of the causes assigned by the 
Ancients for brute-worship. What the Priests thought 
fit to intrust to the people concerning this matter, the 
Sicilian tells us, was this ; That the Gods of the early 
times being Jew in number, and so forced to yield to the 
multitude and injustice of earth-born men, assumed the 
forms of divers Animals, and by that means escaped the 
cruelty and violence of their enemies ; but that, at 
length, gaining the empire of the world, they conse 
crated the species of those Animals whose forms they had 
assumed, in gratitude for that relief which they had re 
ceived from them in their distresses -f-. The moral of 
the fable lies too open to need an Interpreter : it can 
hardly, indeed, be any other than that we have here 
given. But Diodorus aids us in the discovery of that 
secret, which he himself appears not to have penetrated, 
where he says that Melampus, who brought the Mys 
teries of Proserpine from Egypt into Greece, taught 
them the story of TY PI-ION, and the whole history of 
the disasters and sufferings of the Gods J. Now we 
have shewn || that one part of the office of the ITiero- 
phant of the Mysteries was to reveal the true original 
of Polytheism ; which instruction could not be conveyed 
more appositely, than in the history of Tuphon, as here 
explained. From the whole then, we conclude, that 
this was indeed the profound secret, which the Egyptian 
priests had concerning it. So that the passage of Dio 
dorus, last quoted, not only supports our interpretation 
of tl\e fable ofTyphon, but of the secret of the Mysteries 

Only one thing is worth our notice, that the Priests 

* Of ply lE*V acvrav otwoffviov n ^o/jlta -crept r&Tav t%xcrw. Lib.i. p. 54. 
f" fyot,<n yap T? e$ &(> X/><i ysvo[/.svaq $, ohiyuq o^Ia? ^ x&ltffxvoftev&s 
ro rS czrA^Otff x} TJ$ avo/x,va$ TUV y^yzvuiv Orvfyuvruv, opoiuQwou TUT* TUV 
uv xj &. Tfcf rotsra rgoTru hot,(pvyt7v vyv uporyloc, xj @ici 
$ TUV xalu rov xbffpov wotvluv xpe&liHrcivlcts xa* TO<$ airtoK f/it 

c-ulygictq xoipiv ot7roh$ofla<; f c(,<pitpuaou ru<; <pvtrii<; avrut oij aipw^oiwfijj 

Lib. i. p. 54. 

t f9 crtiffrov rrjv tst^i ra. tira0j TUV Stuv ifofav. Lib. i. 
II Div. Leg. Vol. ii. pp. 188, &c. 



should think fit to give the people this curious origin of 
brute-worship : We have observed, that they promoted 
and encouraged this Brutal-idolatry in order to hide the 
weakness .0* their Hero-worship ; but then some reason 
was to be given for that more extravagant super 
stition : so, by a fine contrivance, they made the cir 
cumstances of the fable, by whi h they would com 
memorate their address in introducing a new superstition 
to support the old, a reason for that introduced sup 
port. This was a fetch of policy worthy of an Egyptian 

But let us hear what the Ancients in general have to 
say concerning the beginning of brute-worship. Now 
the Ancients having generally mistaken the origin of 
Hieroglyphic^ it is no wonder they should be. mistaken 
in this likewise : and how much they were mistaken, their 
diversity and inconstancy oi opinion plainly shew us : And 
yet, amidst this diversity , the cause here assigned hath 
escaped them ; which had otherwise, tis probable, put 
an end to all farther conjecture. Put as they chanced 
to fall into variety. of wrong opinions, it will be incum 
bent on me to examine and confute them. What I can 
at present recollect as any way deserving notice, arc the 
folio \\ ing : 

They suppose brute-worship to have arisen, 

1 . From the benefits men receive of animals. 

2. From the doctrine ol the metempsychosis. 

3. From the use of astcrisms. 

4. From the notion of GOD S pervading all things. 

5. From the use of Animals as Symbols of the divine 


6. From the invention of a certain Egyptian king for 

his private ends of policy. 

These, I think, are all the opinions of moment. And 
of these, we may observe in general, th it the fourth and 
fifth are least wide of the truth, as making brute-worship 
symbolical: But the defect, common to them all, is that 
the reason assigned by each concludes for the universa 
lity of this worship throughout paganism ; whereas it was 
in fact peculiar to Egypt ; and seen and owned to be so 
by these very Ancients themselves. 

VOL. IV. O I. The 


I. The first opinion is that we find in CICERO*, who 
supposes the original to be a grateful sense of benefits 
received from animals. 

i. This labours under all the defects of an inadequate 
cause, as concluding both too much, and too little : 
Too much ; because, on this ground, brute-worship 
would have been common to all nations ; but it was pe 
culiar to the Egyptian and its colonies : Too little ; 
i. Because on this ground none but useful animals should 
have been worshipped; whereas several of the most 
useless and noxious t were held sacred, a. Plant-wor 
ship must then, in the nature of things, have been prior 
to, or at least coeval with, that of brutes. But it was 
much later; and, on our theory, we see how this came 
to pass ; the vegetable world would not be explored, to 
find out hieroglyphical analogies, till the animal had 
been exhausted. 

II. Neither could the doctrine of the metempsychosis, 
mentioned by DIODOUUS , be the origin of brute-wor 
ship : i . Because that opinion was common to all na 
tions ; but brute-worship peculiar to Egypt. The doc 
trine of the metempsychosis flourisheth, at this day, with 
greater vigour in India, than, perhaps, it ever did in 
any place or age of the world ; yet it occasions no wor 
ship, or religious veneration to those animals which are 
supposed the receptacles of departed souls. A very 
excessive charity towards them it does indeed afford. 
And this is the more remarkable, not only as this peo 
ple are sunk into the most sordid superstitions, but be 
cause, having learnt animal-worship of Egypt ||, if the 
doctrine of the metempsychosis had any natural tendency 
to inflame that superstition, they had by this time been 

* See note [RRR] at the end of this Book. 

t See note [SS^] at the end of this Book. 

J Diodorut delivers this original, in his account of the supersti 
tious worship of the Apis : T>k & ra @ooq rara Tigris cuv w foot $/{***> 
biyuflss on TsXewI^o-avl^ *Oat^o^, it TVTOV ^ ^Xfl at T * f**^* *? ^ 
ravTU. AafleAer pi^gi T vvv as* xala ra? aSe*eis a.vr$ pffcfttfpfai tzrpof 
Y$ ffrelayvers. Lib. i. p. 54. 

(I As appears from hence, that those few animals, which are the 
objects of their religious worship, are such as were formerly most 
reverenced in Egypt; and into such, no -souls are doomed by the 
law ef transmigration ; the reason of which we shall see presently. 



totally devoted to it. 2. Because the hypothesis which 
makes ti^ansmigration the origin of brute- worship, must 
suppose brutes to be venerated as the receptacle of hu 
man souls become deified : but the ancient Egyptians 
deified none but heroic and demonic souls : and souls of 
this order were not supposed subject to the common law 
of the metempsychosis*. 3. The intrusion of those 
souls into brutal bodies, according to the law of trans 
migration, was understood to be a punishment for 
crimes. Their prison-house therefore could never be 
come the object of adoration ; but rather of aversion 
and abhorrence; as all subterraneous fire was amongst 
the ancient Romans, and as that of purgatory is 
amongst the modern. 4. Lastly, the doctrine of the 
metempsychosis was much later than the first practice of 
brute-worship ; and evidently invented to remove objec 
tions against Providence f , when men began to speculate 
and philosophise. What seems to have given birth to 
this opinion of the origin of brute-worship, was the 
fancy of the later Egyptians, that the soul of Osiris re 
sided in the Apis. Diodorus himself supports the con 
jecture : For, reckoning up the several opinions con 
cerning the origin of brute- worship, when he comes to 
that of the metempsychosis, he delivers it in a popular 
relation of the soui of Osiris residing in the Apis. 

III. The third opinion we find to be favoured by 
LUCIAN \ : which is, that the Egyptian invention of 
distinguishing the Constellations, and marking each of 
them with the name of some animal, gave thejirst occa 
sion to brute-worship. But, i . the same objection lies 

* The difference between heroic, demonic, and human souls, as it 
was conceived by the most early pagans, will be explained hereafter. 
f See Vol. III. Book iii. 3. 

j Of $\ [Afyt/TrKoi] t ^Xa l^yotvlo -cro^w ptlZp vxleuv* sx ye 
TUV aXA<w>, aTrAavawi/ rt K^ tvrccQsw, x^ 
? froipovlo sv ToTcr xojow.E i ots t, x^ olm^ct, ^u 
OLVTUV ? a^jy (/.ovif fcE^tf/.e alas- CVKO Tiuv $vi ic, itga, TO, A 
r 8 yetg tzraylf? hlyviflnn sx. ruv ^va^SKa. (toipsuv 
f^oipv)0 it E^soclo x^ x^tov i*lv 

co atyoxegwv <7a> vet} p^v t TaiJfov 5 Tipw T 

vfa oiCi{oAi* De Astrologia, t. ii. p. 363. edit. Reitzii, 
Amst. 4to. 1743- 

O 2 against 


against this solution as against the two preceding : for 
this way of distinguishing the Asterisms was in use in all 
nations; but brute-worship was confined to Egypt and 
its colonies. 2. This way of solving the difficulty creates 
a greater : for then nothing will be left in antiquity *, to 
account for so extraordinary a custom as the giving to 
one Constellation the form of a ram, to another the 
form of a scorpion, c. when, in the apparent disposi 
tion of those stars, there was not so much resemblance 
to any one part of any one animal as was sufficient to 
set the fancy on work to make out the rest. But if, for 
distinction sake, those things were to have a name which 
had no shape f, why then, as being of such regard from 
their supposed influences, were they not rather honoured 
with the titles of their heroes than of their brutes? 
Would the -polite Egyptian priests, who first animalized 
the Asterisms, do like Tom Otter in the comedy, bring 
their Bulls and Bears to court ? would they exalt them 
into heaven, before they had made any considerable 
figure upon earth ? The fact is, indeed, just otherwise. 
It was brute-worship which gave birth to the Asterisms. 
That the constellations were first named and distin 
guished by the Egyptians, is agreed on all hands: that 
they were much later than the beginning of brute-wor 
ship, is as evident ; the confused multitude of stars not 
being thus sorted into bands, till the Egyptian priests 
had made some considerable progress in astronomy r 
But brute- worship, we know from Scripture, was prior 
to the time of MOSES. When they began to collect the 
stars into Constellations, a name was necessary to keep 
up the combination ; and animals, now become the re 
ligious symbols of their Gods, afforded the aptest means 
for that purpose: For, i. It did honour to their heroes: 
2. It supported their astrology (which always went 
along, and wa-s often confounded with, their astronomy], 

* I say, in Antiquity : for as to the solution of this point by the 
liberty of imagining, nothing is more easy. The French author of 
the History of the Heavens has, by the mere force of imagination, 
removed all these difficulties ; not only without any support from 
Antiquity, but even in defiance of it. 

\ E:\ata. eyfjictivQicV aty&Q o aw par & yevQiflti 
"Arfa Arat. in (pcuvop. 



it being understood to imply that their country Gods had 
now taken up their residence in Constellations of benig 
nant influence, 

IV. Nor is there any better foundation for the fourth 
opinion; which is that of PORPHYRY*; who supposes 
that the doctrine of GOT) s pervading all things was the 
original of brute-worship. But, i. It proves too much : 
for according to this notion, every thing would have 
been the object of divine worship amongst the early 
Egyptians ; but we know many were not. 2. Accord 
ing to this notion, nothing could have been the object of 
their execration ; but we know many were. This no 
tion was never an opinion of the people, but of a few of 
the learned only : 4. And those, not of the learned of 
Egypt, but of Greece. In a word, this pretended 
original of brute-worship was only an invention of their 
late Philosophers, to hide the deformities, and to sup 
port the credit of declining Paganism. 

V. Akin to this, and invented for the same end, is 
what we find in JAMBLICHUS^ ; namely, 1 hat brutes 
were deified only as the symbols ofthejirst Cause, con 
sidered in all his attributes and relations. Groundless 
as this fancy is, yet as it is embraced by our best philo 
logists, such as Cudvvorth, Vossius, and Kircher, on 
the faith of those fanatic and inveterate enemies to 
Christianity, Porphyry and Jamblichus, i shall endea 
vour to expose it as it deserves. This will be the best 
done by considering the rise and order of the three great 
species oj idolatry. The first, in time, was, as we have 

tywo-a.1/, uq a i ui/gunx povx TO tov iei/, T. v^v> v paw 

O Stt 

i{ rr,v CEowouaw cra^aAaCoi tsciv QUQV, JJe Aust. lib. iv. 

f n^oTE^ov 14 yo\ ?Ao{/,at rav K\y\iit\ \ut rov reoirov TM? 

rot ya TJV (pvaiv T i sr^vr<x; 1 t wv SyiupyHitv rwv 

* at TOi TUV pVTWUV Xg aTTOXEX^Uj&^CKc;!/ t tifyoiVUV VWC-ltiV tKQ.VO,$ 

ag ^a o-vpoAttv, r^ovov Ttva, MTirelv^aia-oto y ; ruv 
T>J a7,^8nv TWV slfruv ^a run (aytuv sixovuv 

ruv v<j 

CCVTCC ciytyQ^r HTM nrXvjpyj ^>a. TIJ; xaT TO $vva,Tov 
auTot Toy tygotrtyopov at/TO?<; TppTTOf T>J? KtKp Jp.p.ivn$ v 
^st. vligypt. 7. C, i 

O 3 shewn 3 


shewn, the worship of the heavenly bodies-, and this 
continued unmixed till the institution of political Society: 
Then, another species arose, the deification of dead 
kings and lawgivers. Such was the course of idolatry 
in all places as well as in Egypt : but there, the method 
of recording the history of their hero Gods, in improved 
hieroglyphics, gave birth to the third species ot idolatry, 
brute-worship ; and this was peculiar to Egypt and its 
colonies. Now as the method used by all nations, of 
ingrafting hero-worship on star-worship, occasioned the 
Philologists to mistake * the former as symbolical of the 
latter ; so the method, used by the Egyptians (men 
tioned a little before) of supporting brute-worship, which 
was really symbolical of their hero Gods, made the 
same writers think it to be originally symbolical of star 
Gods, and even of the rirst Cause. Thus the very 
learned Vossius fell into two mistakes: i. That hero- 
worship was symbolical of star worship: .. That brute- 
worship was symbolical of it likewise. The consequence 
of which was, that the system of physical- theology, 
which was, indeed, one oi the last sciences of the Egyp 
tian school, was supposed to be the first; and hero-wor 
ship., which was indeed the first religion of the Egyptian 
church, was supposed to be the last. This is no more 
than saying, that (for reasons given before) the Magis 
trate would very early institute the worship of their 
dead benefactors, and that the Philosopher could have 
no occasion, till many ages afterwards (when men grew 
inquisitive or licentious), to hide the ignominy of it, by 
making those hero Gods only shadowy Beings, and no 
more than emblems of the several parts of nature f- 

Now though the doctrine of this early physical Theo 
logy, as explained by the Greeks, makes very much for 
the high antiquity of Egyptian learning, the point I am 
concerned to prove ; yet as my only end is truth, in all 
these enquiries, I can, with the same pleasure, confute 
an error which supports my system, that I have in de 
tecting those which made against it. 

The common notion of these Philologists, we see, 
brings Hero-worship, by consequence, very low; and 

* See Book iii. 6. 

t See note [TTT] at the end of this Book. 


fac+ny /J. ifff). ro7.1V. 


-*y- * 


as some of their followers have pursued that conse* 
qucnce, I shall beg leave to examine their reasonings. 
The learned author of the Connections pushes the matter 
very far : " It does not appear from this table [the 
" Bembine] that the Egyptians worshipped any idols of 
" human shape, at the time when this table was com- 
" posed; but rather, on the contrary, all the images 
<c herein represented, before which any persons are 
" described in postures of adoration, being the figures 
" of birds, beasts, or fishes ; this table seems to have 
" been delineated BEFORE the Egyptians worshipped 
" the images of men and women; WHICH WAS THE 


Now the whole of this observation will, I am afraid, 
only amount to an illogical consequence drawn from a 
false fact ; let the reader judge. Alt the images (he 
says) herein represented, before which any persons are 
described, in postures of adoration, are the figures of 
birds, beasts, and fishes. I was some time in doubt 
whether the learned writer and I had seen the same 
table : for in that given us by Kircher, the whole body 
of the picture is tilled up with the greater Egyptian Gods 
in HUMAN SHAPE; before several of which, are other 
human figures in postures of adoration; unless the 
learned writer will confine that posture to kneeling; 
which yet he brings no higher than the time of Solomon j\ 
Some of these worshippers are represented sacri/icing.%; 
others in the act of offering ; and offering to Gods in- 
throned || . One of which figures I have caused to be 
engraved ^[, where a mummy from Kircher s (Edipus ** 
will shew us what sort of idol it is which we see wor 
shipped by offerings -f -f . With regard to the kneeling 
postures of adoration, to birds, beasts, and fishes, these 
are in a narrow border of the table, which runs round 
the principal compartments. The learned writer indeed 
seems to make a matter of it, " that all the images that 
" kneel are represented as paying their worship to some 

* Sacr. and Prof. Hist, of the World connected, vol. ii. p. 320. 
t Ibid. p. 317. 

* As at [S. V.] [| As at [T. <&.] [o. S.] and [S. X.] 
T See Plate IX, fig. i. ** Fig. 2. ft Fig. 1. 

04 " animal 


" animal figure ; there not being one instance or repre- 
" sentation of this worship paid to an image of human 
(c form, either on the border or in the table*/ J3ut 
surely there is no mystery in this. The table was ap 
parently made for the devotees of Ir-is in Roinef. Now, 
amongst the Romans, brute-worship was so uncommon, 
that the artist thought proper to mark it out by the most 
distinguished posture of adoration; while the worship of 
the greater Hero-Gods, a worship like their own, was 
siiiiiciendy designed by the sole acts of offering and sa 

But supposing the fact to have been as the writer of 
these Connections represents it; how, I ask, would his 
consequence follow, That the table was made BH.FOUE 
the Egyptians worshipped the images cf men (u.-i wo 
men? It depends altogether on this supposition, that 
Brute-worship was not symbolical of Hero- worship ; but 
the contrary hath been shewn. Tne learned Author 
himself must own that Apis, at least, was trie symbol of 
the Hero-God Osiris. But can anyone beli - e, he was 
not worshipped in his own figure before lie was deli 
neated under that of an ox ? To say the truth, had this 
author s fact been right, it had been a much juster con 
sequence, That the table was made AFTER the Egyp 
tians had generally left off worshipping the images, of 
men and women ; for it is certain, ttie symbolic .worship 
of brutes brought human images into disuse. Who can 
doubt but human images of Hero-Gods were used in 
Egypt long beibre the time of Strabo ? yet he tells us J, 
that in their temples (of which lie gives a general de 
scription} they either had no images, or none of human 
form, but of so^ne beast. He could not mean in those 
temples dedicated to animals; for There had been the 
wonder of that ? nor will this disuse of human images 
appear strange to those \\lio reflect on what hath been 

* Sacr. and Prof. Jlist. of the World connected, vol. ii. p. 318. 
f See note [UUU] at the end of this Book. 

T>j? t x.ct<x,a-Kcvy; rv tf>u y kji; roMvrr}. Kara. TVIV 
TV>V fit TO ttp.w& t SfC.- - ^e~a $1 TO, vrpovuhciux, o veu<; mgot/aov 
psyctVy KJ |fiAoy&!/ "tin $ O-W.QV ffygpfyoyt ioxvov $1 vfrlv, q VK 
jro/Aopipo)*. u^ot. _TUV ettoyuv .^*v wjc, Geogr. lib, xvii. pp. 
1159. Amst. ed. 



said of these Symbols, which being supposed given by 
the Gods themselves, their use in religious worship 
wonld be thought most pleasing to the givers. 

This conclusion is further strengthened by these con 
siderations : l . That the age of the table is so far from 
being of the antiquity conceived by the learned writer, 
that it is the very latest of all the old Egyptian monu 
ments ; as appears from the mixture of ail kinds of hie 
roglyphic characters in it. 2. That on almost all the 
obelisks * in lurcher s Thcatrum Hieroglyphicum, which 
are undoubtedly very ancient, we sec adoration given 
to idols in human form ; and likewise in that very way 
the learned author so much insists upon, namely, Ge- 
niijii iwn. 

Thus, though from the Bembinc-tabk nothing can be 
concluded for the high date of heroic image-worship, yet 
nothing can be concluded for the low. However the 
learned writer will still suppose (what everyone is so apt 
to do) that he is in the right; and therefore tries to 
maintain his ground by fact and reason. 

Mis argument from fact stands thus : " The Fgyp- 
" tians relate a very remarkable table of the birth of 
" these five Gods. They say that Rhea lay privately 
" with Saturn, and was with child by him ; that the 
(i Sun, upon finding out her baseness, laid a curse upon 
" her, that she should not be delivered in any month or 
" year : That Mercury being in love with the goddess 
" lay with her also ; and then played at dice with the 
" Moon, and won from her the seventy- second part of 
" each day, and made up of these winnings five days, 
" which he added to the year, making the year to consist 
" ot three hundred sixty five days, which before con- 
" sisted ot three hundred sixty days only ; and that in 
" these days Rhea brought forth five children, Osiris, 
" Orus, Typho, Isis, an/1 Nephthe. We need not en- 
" quire into the mythology of this fable ; what I remark 
" from it is this, that the fable could not be invented 
before the Egyptians had found out that the year con- 
" sisted of three hundred and sixty five days, and con- 

* Namely, the Lateran of Harnesses, the Flaminian of Psammi- 
tichus, the SalLustian, and the Constantinopolitan. 

" sequently 


" sequently that by their own accounts the five deities 
" said to be born on the five iTr&yopwou, or additional 
fic days, were not deified before they knew that the year 
" had these five days added to it; and this addition 
" to the year was made about A. M. 2665, a little 
" after the death of Joshua *." 

I agree with this learned author, that the fable could 
not be invented before the Egyptians had found out that 
the year consisted of three hundred and sixty-five days , I 
agree with him, that the addition of the Jive days might 
he made about A. M. 2665 ; but I deny the consequence, 
that the Jive Gods were not deified before this addition to 
the year ; nay, I deny that it will follow from the fable, 
that the makers and venders of it so thought. What 
hath misled the learned writer seems to be his supposing 
that the fable was made to commemorate the deification 
of the five Gods, whereas it was made to commemorate the 
insertion of the five days ; as appears from its being told 
in that figurative and allegoric manner in which the Egyp 
tians usually conveyed the history of their science : and 
it was ever the way of Antiquity* to make the Gods a 
party, in order to give the greater reverence to the inven 
tions of men. A design to commemorate the time of deifi 
cation was so absurd a thing in the politics of a Pagan 
priest, that we can never believe he had any thing of that 
kind in view : it was his business to throw the Godhead 
back before all time ; or at least to place it from time 
immemorial. But admitting the maker of this fable in 
tended to celebrate in general the history of these five 
gods, can we think that he, who was hunting after the 
marvellous, would confine his invention within the in- 
closure of dates ? a matter too of so dangerous a nature 
to be insisted on. We know (and we now, partly, see 
the reason of it) that the ancient mythologists affected 
to confound all chronology : a mischief which hath so 
shaken the crazy edifice of ancient times, that the best 
chronologists have rather buried themselves in its ruins, 
than been able to lead others through it : besides, it is 
evident that new lies were every year told of their old 
Gods. Let him who doubts of this, consider what ad 
ditions following poets and theologers have made to the 

* Connect, vol. ii. pp.283, 284: 



fables which Homer and Hesiod had recorded of the 
Gods ; additions, seen, by their very circumstances, not 
to have been invented when those ancient bards sung; of 
their intrigues. In these later fables we frequently find 
the Gods of Greece and Egvpt concerned in adventures, 
whose dates, if measured by determined synchronisms, 
would bring down their births to ages even lower than 
their long established worship. The not attending to 
this has, as will be seen hereafter, egregiously misled the 
incomparable Sir Isaac Newton in his ancient Chro 
nology. Thus the same author *, Plutarch, tells us, in 
the same place, of another Egyptian fable which makes 
Typhon beget Hierosolymus and Judtfus^ . But what 
then ? must we believe, that Typhon was no earlier than 
the name of Judreus ? must we not rather conclude, that 
this was a late story invented of him out of hatred and 
contempt of the Hebrews ? 

In a word, this practice of adding new mythology to 
their old divinity was so notorious, that the learned 
Connector of sacred and profane history could not 
himself forbear taking notice of it : 4< The Egyptians 
" (says he) having first called their heroes by the names 
" of their sidertal and elementary deities, ADDED IN 


philosophical opinions concerning the Gods whose 
" names had been given to such heroes };." 

* But, (says this writer) had Osiris, Orus, Typho, 

1 Isis, and Nephthe, been esteemed deities before this 
" additional length of the year was apprehended, we 
61 should not have had this, but some other fabulous 
" account of their birth transmitted to us ||." Here 
the premisses and conclusion are severally propped up 
by two talse suppositions ; the premisses, by this, that 
the fable was invented to commemorate the origin of these 
gods ; and the conclusion, by this, that we have no other 
fabulous account of their birth. 

* Is. & Os. 

t Tacitus seems to allude to this paltry fable: Q.uidam,regnantt 
Iside, exundantem per jEgyptum multitudinem^ ducibus Hierosolyma 
& Juda, proximas in terras sxoneratam. Hist. lib. v. cap. 2. 

% Connect, vol. ii. pp. 300, 3*1. |J Ib. p. 284. 



From fact, the learned writer comes to reason ; and 
speaking of the Egyptian Hero-Gods, who, he supposes, 
were antediluvian mortals, he says: " But I do not 
" imagine they were deified until about this time ofcor- 
" resting the" year; for when this humour first began, 
" it is not likely that they made Gods of men but just 
" dead, of whose infirmities and imperfections many 
" persons might be living witnesses: but they took the 
cc names of their first ancestors, whom they had been 
" taught to honour for ages, and whose ikiiu had been 
" growing by the increase of tradition, and all whose 
" imperfections had been long buried, that it might be 
44 thought they never had any. It is hard to be con- 
" cei veil that a set of men could ever be chosen by their 
" contemporaries to have divine honours paid them, 
" whilst numerous persons were alive, who knew their 
<c imperfections, or who themselvss or their immediate 
<c ancestors might have as fair a pretence, and come in 
" competition with them. Alexander the Great had but 
tk ill success in his attempt to make the world believe 
* him the son of Jupiter Ammon; nor could Nuina 
<( Pompilius, the second king of Rome, make Romulus s 
" translation to heaven so firmly believed, as not to leave 
" room for subsequent historians to report him killed 
" by his subjects. Nor can I conceive that Julius 
" Caesar s canonization, though it was contrived more 
" politically, would ever have stood long indisputable, 
" if the light of Christianity had not appeared so soon 
" after this time as it did, and impaired the credit of 
" the heathen superstitions. The fame of deceased 
" persons must have ages to grow up to heaven, and 
" divine honours cannot be given with any shew of DE- 
" CENCV, but by a late posterity *." 

He says, it is not likely they made Gods of men but 
just dead, of whose infirmities and imperfections many 
persons might be living witnesses. How likely shall be 
considered presently; but that they did in fact do so, is 
too plain, methinks, to be denied. The learned Eu- 
sebius, a competent judge (if ever there was any) of 

* Connect, vol. ii. pp. 286, 287. 



ancient fact, delivers it as a notorious truth, that in the 
early ages, those who excelled in wisdom, strength, or 
valour, who had eminently contributed to the common 
safety, or had greatly advanced the arts of life, were 
either deified during life, or immediately on their de 
cease * : This he had reason to believe, for he had good 
authority, the venerable history of Sanchoniathon the 
Phenician ; which gives a very particular account of the 
origin of Hero-worship, and expressly says the deifi 
cation was immediate : And surety, when men were 
become so foolish as to make Gods of their fellow-crea 
tures, thi likeliest, as well as most excusable season was, 
while the heat of gratitude, for new-invented blessings, 
kept glowing in their hearts ; or, at least, while the sense 
of those blessings was yet fresh and recent in their me 
mories ; in a word, while they were warmed with that 
enthusiastic love and admiration which our great poet so 
sublimely describes : 

" Twas virtue only (or in Arts or Arms, 
" Diffusing blessings, or averting harms) 
* The same, which in a sire the sons obey r d, 
" A prince, the father of a people made. 
" On him their second providence they hung, 
" Their law his eye, their oracle his tongue. 
" lie from the wond ring furrow call d the food ; 
" Taught to command the fire, controul the flood, 
" Draw forth the monsters of th abyss profound, 
" And fetch th aerial eagle to the ground f." 

Was there any wonder in this, that he who taught man 
kind to subject all the elements to their use,, should, by 
a rude admiring multitude, be adjudged a Being of a 
superior order ? 

But they took the names of their first ancestors, whose 
fame had been growing up by the increase of tradition. 


yyae,va.i; ru>ai<; 

5 utfrpots, i x. riv*& TUV QHQTEOUV cc RQ nlu 
(7V)>s/y>ifvoc,arf/,svti<; t 53 K, f ra? ccXXa? xoo^? re 

v]a?, ^UTO,<; rs in i pila rthstlw 0? s<7ri<pv)p.iffuv. Pracp. Lvang. 
lib. ii. cap. 5. 

f Essay on Man. ED. iii, 



Without doubt, the ancestors, men deified, and which, 
as being extreme early, may be called thejirst, had a 
very large and spreading reputation. But how was this 
procured but by an early apotheosis ? which, by making 
them the continual subject of hymns and panegyrics, pre 
served them from the oblivion of those unlettered ages : 
And in fact, the fame of all, but those so deified, was 
very soon extinct and forgotten. 

And all whose imperfections had been long buried, 
that it might be thought they never had any* By this, 
one would be apt to think that the Hero-Gods of Greece 
and Egypt, whose deification the learned writer would 
bring thus low, had nothing unseemly told of them in their 
Legends : Which, were it true, the argument would 
have some weight. But what school-boy has not read 
of the rogueries which the Pagan worshippers have every 
where recorded of their Gods ? Are not these a con 
vincing proof of their deification by that very age which 
saw both their virtues and their vices ; but, with the fond 
ness of times newly obliged, saw nothing but in an ho 
nourable light * ; and so unhappily canonized both the 
good and the bad together, and, in that condition, de 
livered them all down to posterity ? Not that I suppose 
(for I have just shewn the contrary) that late poets and 
mythoiogists did not add to the tales of their forefathers. 
I can hardly believe Jupiter to have been guilty of all 
the adulteries told of him in Ovid : But this one may 
safely say, that unless he had been a famed Adulterer, 
in early tradition, his later worshippers had never dared 
to invent so many odious stones of the Sire of gods and 

But, it is hard to be conceived that they should have 
divine honours immediately paid them, because their con 
temporaries might have as fair a pretence, and come in 
competition with them. I understood that none were 
deified but those whose benefits to their fallow -citizens, 

* Quae ista justitia est, nobis succensere, quod talia dicimus d 
cliis eorum ; & sibi non succensere, qui haec in T heatris libentissim 
spectant crimina deorum suorum ? & quod esset incredibile, nisi con- 
testatissime probaretur, haec ipsa theatrica crimina deorum suorum 
IN HONOREM iNSTiTUTA suNT eorundem deorum. August, de civit. 
Dei, 1, iv. c. 10. 



or to mankind at large, were very eminent; and that 
all with these pretensions were deified ; so that I scarce 
know what to make of this observation. 

- But Alexander and Ccesar s apotheoses were scorned 
and laughed at *. And so they deserved. For if they, 
or their flatterers for them, would needs affect deification 
in a learned and enlightened age and place, no other 
could be expected from so absurd an attempt. But then 
those, who knew better how to lay a religious project, 
found no impediment from their nearness to its execution. 
Thus Odin f , about this very Caesar s time, aspired to 
immediate worship amongst a rude and barbarous peo 
ple (the only scene for playing the force with success), 
and had as good fortune in it, as either Osiris, Jupiter, 
or Bel us. 

Nor could Numa Pompilius make Romulus s trans 
lation to heaven so firmly believed, as not to leave room 
for subsequent historians to report him killed by his sub 
jects. Here the writer conscious that Antiquity opposed 
his hypothesis of the late deification of their early heroes, 
with many glaring examples to the contrary, has thought 
fit to produce one J which he fancied he could deal with. 
Romulus s translation was never so Jirmly believed but 
that SUBSEQUENT HISTORIANS, 8$c. As if at all times 
speculative men did not see the origin of their best es 
tablished Hero-Gods : As if we could forget, what the 
learned writer himself tak^s care to tell us in this very 
place, that Euhemerus Messenius icrote a book to prove 
the ancient gods of the heathen world to have been only 
their ancltnt kings and commanders ||. 

The fame of deceased persons (says he) must have 
ages to grow up to htaven. Must I that is, in spite of 
a barbarous multitude, who would make Gods of them 

* Plutarch uses this very argument against Euhemerus, to prove 
that their country gods never were mortal Men Ileg* IS. xj OS. p. 641. 

f Odinus supremus est fy antiquisaimus -Asm-urn, qui omnes res 
gubernat ; clique etiamsi cceteri Diis potentes tint, omnes tawen ipsi 
inserviunt, ut patri liberi. Cum Pompews dux quidam Romanvrvm 
Orientem bellis infestaret, Odinus ex Asia hue in teptentrionem fy- 
jriebat. Edda Snorronis apud Thorn. Bartholin. de Antiq, Dank. 
pp.648 & 65-2. 

t See note [XXX] at the end of this Book. 

{j P. 288. See the Divine JLegatior, Book iii. 6. 



out of band : in spite of ancient Story, which tells us 
plainly, they had their wicked wills. 

A>id divine honours cannot be given with any shew 
cf decency but by a late posterity. It must be con 
fessed, the Ancients observed much decency when, in 
the number of their greater Gods, they admitted ra- 
vishers, adulterers, pathics, vagabonds, thieves, and 

But now the learned writer, in toiling to bring hero- 
worship thus low, dr.-ws a heavier labour on uirnself; 
to invent some probable c,.use of the apotheosis : that 
warmth of gr. titude for godlike beiu,6ts received, which 
ancient history had so satisfactorily assigned for the cause, 
being now q uite ou t of dat . For w hen gra ; ;tude is buffered 
to cool ior man y -ages, there will \\cini son? verv strong 
machine todra.% these mortals up to Leaven. However, 
our author has supplied them with a mo>t solenoid ve 
hicle. u Some ages alter (says he) they descended to 
" worship heroes or dead men. The most celebrated 
" deities they had of this sort were Cronus, Rhea, 
<c Osiris, Orus, Typhon, Isis, and Nephthe ; and these 
" persons were said to be deified upon an opinion that, 
at their deaths, their souls migrated into some STAR, 
" and became the animating spirit of some luminous 
" and heavenly body : This the Egyptian priests ex- 
" pressly asserted. Let us now see when the Egyptians 
(t first consecrated these hero-gods, or deified mortals. 
" To this I answer, Not before the\ took notice of the 
" appearances of the particular stars which they ap- 
<c propriated to them. Julius Caesar was not canonized 
<( until the appearance of the Julium Sidus, nor could the 
" P hem-dans have any notion of the divinity of Cronus 
" until they made some observations of the star which 
" thev imagined he was removed into *." 

He says, the Egyptian priests EXPRESSLY ASSERTED 
that these persons were said to be deified upon an opinion 
that at their death their souls migrated into some star. 
And for this he quotes a passage out of Plutarch s tract 
of his and Osiris ; which I shall give the reader in 
Plutarch s ou-p words, that he may judge for himself. 
Speaking of the tombs of the Gods, he says: But the 

* Connect, vol. ii. pp. 281, 282, 283. 



priests affirm not only of these, but of all the other Gods, 
of that tribe which were not unbegotten nor immortal, 
that their dead bodies are deposited amongst them and 
preserved with great care, but that their souls illu 
minate the stars in heaven *. All here asserted is that 
the Egyptians thought the souls of their hero-gods had 
migrated into some star; but not the least intimation 
that they were deified upon this opinion of their migra 
tion. These are two very different things. The opinion 
of their migration might, for any tiling said by Plutarch, 
be an after superstition ; nay we shall make it very pro 
bable that it was so : for the Connector not resting on 
this authority, as indeed he had small reason, casts about 
for some plausible occasion, how men come to be dei 
fied upon so strange an opinion ; and this he makes to 
be their FIRST notice of the appearance of a particular 
star. But how the new appearance of a star should 
make men suppose the soul of a dead ancestor was got 
into it, and so become a God, is as hard to conceive 
as how Tenterden steeple should be the cause of Good 
win-Sands. Indeed it was natural enough to imagine 
such an i*if*Wut; when the cultivation of judicial as 
trology had aided a growing superstition to believe that 
their tutelary God had chosen the convenient residence 
of a culminating star, in order to shed his best influence 
on his own race or people. This seems to be the truth 
of the case : and this, I believe, was all the Egyptian 
priests, in Plutarch, meant to say. 

But from a sufficient cause, this new appearance is 
become (before the conclusion of the paragraph) the only 
cause of deification: Julius Casar was" not canonized 
until the appearance of the Julium Sidus : nor COULD 
the Phenicians have any notion of the divinity of Cronus 
until they made some observations of the star which they 
imagined he was removed into. As to Caesar s apo 
theosis, it was a vile imitation of those viler flatteries of 
Alexander s successors in Greece and Egypt ; and the 
Julium Sidus an incident of no other consequence than 

^ Oo pony JE raruv ot .$ \tyaeiv, aAXct xj TW oihXuv SeZv, o<rot pn 
*yyivyloi p^l oitpQaplot, rat /*s> vu^cc tBat,<? avroTf xutrtoott xetpoflot *y 
T f & ij/t^flk it ^otva tapir iu *rf*. pag. 640. Edit. 

oteph. 8vo. 

VOL. IV. P to 


to save his sycophants from blushing. But abandoned 
Courtiers and prostitute Senates never wait for the de 
claration of Heaven : and when the slaves of Rome sent 
a second tribe of Monsters to replenish the Constel 
lations, we find that Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius, 8$c. 
who rose into Gods as they sunk below humanity, had 
no more Stars in their favour than Teague in the Com 
mittee. But of all cases, the Phenicians seems the 
hardest : who with their infinite superstitions could yet 
have no notion of Cronus s divinity, till they had read 
his fortune in his Star. I am so utterly at a loss to know 
what this can mean, that I will only say, if the reader 
cannot see how they might come by this notion another 
way, then^ either he has read, or I have written, a great 
deal to very little purpose. 

VI. We come now to the last cause assigned by the 
Ancients for brute-worship, as we find it in EUSEBIUS *; 
namely, That it was the invention of a certain king, for 
his private ends of policy, to establish in each city the 
exclusive worship of a different animal, in order to pre 
vent confederacies and combinations against his Govern 
ment. That an Egyptian king did in fact contrive such 
a political institution one may safely allow, because, on 
this very supposition, it will appear that brute-worship 
had another and prior original. For it is not the way 
of Politicians to invent new Religions, but to turn those 
to advantage which they find already in use. The cun 
ning, therefore, of this Egyptian monarch consisted in 
founding a new institution vf intolerance, upon an old 
established practice in each city of different animal- 
worship. But supposing this king of so peculiar a strain 
of policy that he would needs invent a new Religion ; 
How happened it that he did not employ hero-worship 
to this purpose (so natural a superstition that it became 
universal) rather than the whimsical and monstrous 
practice of brute-worship, not symbolical, when direct 
hero-worship would have served his purpose so much 
better ; religious zeal for the exclusive honour of a dead 
citizen being likely to rise much higher than reverence to 
a compatriot animal ? The only solution of the difficulty 
is this, Brute-worship being then the favourite super- 
* See Div. Leg, vol. ii. p. 306. 



stition of the people, the politic monarch chose that for 
the foundation of his contrivance. So that we must 
needs conclude, this pretended cause to be as defective as 
the rest. 

These were the reasons the Greek writers gave for 
brute-worship in general. But besides these, they in 
vented a thousand fanciful causes of the worship of this 
or that animal in particular ; which it would be to no 
purpose to recount. 

On the whole, so little satisfaction did these writers 
afford to the learned Fourmont (who yet is for making 
something or other out of every rag of Antiquity, which 
he can pick up and new-line with an Etymology), that 
he frankly owns the true original of brute-worship is the 
most difficult thing imaginable to find out : Si on nous 
demandoit (says he) de quel droit, td ou tel dieu, avoit 
sous lui tel ou tel animal, pour certain, rien de plus dij- 
jkile a detainer *. 

However, amidst (his confusion, the Greeks, we 
see, were modest. They fairly gave us their opinions, 
but forged no histories to support them. The Arabian 
writers were of another cast : it was their way to free 
themselves from these perplexities by telling a story: 
Thus Abennephi, being at a loss to account for the 
Egyptian worship of a fly, invents this formal tale, That 
the Egyptians being greatly infested with these insects, 
consulted the oracle, arid were answered, that they must 
pay them divine honours. See then, says this dexterous 
writer, the reason of our finding so many on the obelisks 
and pyramids. 

But of all the liberties taken with remote Antiquity, 
sure nothing ever equalled that of a. late French writer, 
whose book, intitled, HISTOIRE DU CIEL, accidentally 
fell into my hands as this sheet was going to the press, 
Kircher, bewildered as he was, had yet some ground 
for his rambles. He fairly followed Antiquity : un 
luckily indeed, for him, it proved the ignis fat mis ot 
Antiquity ; so he was ridiculously misled. However, he 
had enough of that fantastic light to secure his credit as 
a fair writer. But here is a man who regards Antiquity 

* Refl. Crit, sur les histoircs des anciens peoples, UT. ii. . 4. 

pa no 


no more than if he thought it all imaginary, like his 
countryman, Hardouin. At least, he tells us in express 
words, that the study of the tedious and senseless writ 
ings of Herodotus, Plato, Diodorus, Plutarch, Por 
phyry, and such like, is all labour lost. The truth is, 
these volatile writers can neither rest in fact nor fable ; 
but are in letters what Tacitus s Romans were in civil 
government, who could neither bear a perfect freedom, 
nor a thorough slavery*. Only with this additional 
perversity, that when the inquiry is after Truth they be 
tray a strange propensity to Fable ; and when Fable is 
their professed subject, they have as untimely an appe 
tite for Truth ; thus, in that philosophical Romance 
called La vie de Sethos, we find a much juster account 
of old Egyptian wisdom than in all the pretended His- 
toire de del. This Historian s System is. that all the 
civil and religious customs of Antiquity sprung up 
from AGRICULTURE ; nay that the very Gods and God- 
desfces themselves were but a part of this all-bounteous 
harvest | : 

Nee ulla interea est mar at a gratia terrce. 

Now the two most certain facts in Antiquity are these, 
" That the idolatrous worship of the HEAVENLY BO 
DIES arose from the visible influence they have on sub 
lunary things ;" and " That the country-gods of all the 
civilized nations were DEAD MEN deified, whose benefits 
to their fellow-citizens, or to mankind at large, had 
procured them divine honours." Could the reader think 
either of these were likely to be denied by one who ever 
looked into an ancient book; much less by one who 
pretended to interpret Antiquity? But neither Gods 
nor Men can stand before a system. This great adven 
turer assures us that the whole is a delusion ; that An 
tiquity knew nothing of the matter ; that the heavenly 
bodies were not worshipped for their influences; that 
Osiris, Isis, Jupiter, Pluto, Neptune, Mercury, nay their 
very hero-gods, such as Hercules and Minos, were not 

* This shews why LOCKE is no favourite of our historian. J ai 
lu le TRES-ENNUIKUX traite de LOCKE sur I entendement humain, &c. 
Vol. i. pp. 387, 388. 

f Sec pp. 99, 315, & passim, vol. i. Ed. Par, 1739, 8vo. 



mortal men nor women ; nor indeed any thing but the 
letters of an ancient alphabet ; the mere figures which 
composed the symbolic directions to the Egyptian hus 
bandmen *. And yet, after all this, he has the modesty 
to talk of SYSTEMES BizARREsf; and to place the 
Newtonian system in that number. It would be imper 
tinent to ask this writer, where was his regard to Anti 
quity or to Truth, when we see he has so little for the 
public, as to be wanting even in that mere respect due to 
every reader of common apprehension? and yet this 
System, begot by a delirious imagination on the dream 
of a lethargic pedant, is to be called interpreting Anti 
quity^. However, as it is a work of entertainment, 
where AGRICULTURE has the top part in the piece, and 
Antiquity is brought in only to decorate the scene, it 
should, methinks, be made as perfect as possible. 
Would it not therefore be a considerable improvement 
to it, if, instead of saying the Egyptian husbandmen 
found their gods in the symbolic directions for their la 
bour, the ingenious author would suppose that they, 
turned them up alive as they ploughed their furrows, 
just as the Etruscans found their god Tages || : This 
would give his piece the marvellous., so necessary in 
works of this nature, corrected too by the probable, 
that is, some kind of support from Antiquity, which it 
now totally wants. Besides, the moist glebe of Egypt, 
we know, when impregnated with a warm Sun, was of 
old famed for hatching men ^[~ and monsters. 

To return. From what hath been last said, we con 
clude, That the true original of brute -worship was the 

* See note [YYY] at the end of this Book. 

t See p. i2 2 of his Revision de I histoire du Ciel. 

\ S il y a meme qnelque chose de solide et de suivi dans 1 histoire, 
que jc vais dormer de 1 origine diuciel poetique, j avoue que j en suis 
redevable a Texplication ingenieuse, mais simple, par laquelle 1 au- 
teur des saturnelles [Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. cap. 17.] nous a eclairci 
Torigine du nom des ces deux signes. Hist, du ciel, vol. i. c. i. 

|| Tages quidam dicitur in agro Tarqumiensi, cum terra araretur& 
sulcus altius esset impressus, extitisse repente, & eum adfatus esse, 
qui arabas. Is autem Tages, ut in libris est Etruseorum, pueiili 
specie dicitur visus, sed senili fuisse prudentia, &c. Cic. de Div. 
lib. ii. cap. 23. 

TEKE & t^o; APOYPA. II. il. Ver. 54. 

p 3 


use of symbolic writing : and, consequently, that Sym 
bols were extreme ancient; for brute-worship was na 
tional in the days of MOSES. But Symbols were 
invented for the repository of Egyptian wisdom ; there 
fore the Egyptians were very learned even from those 
early times : The point to be proved. 

And now, had this long discourse on the Egyptian 
Hieroglyphics done nothing but afford me this auxiliary 
proof, which my argument does not want, I should cer 
tainly have made it shorter. But it is of much use be 
sides, for attaining a true idea of the EASTERN ELOCU 
TION (whose genius is greatly influenced by this kind of 
writing), and is therefore, I presume, no improper in 
troduction to the present volume, whose subject is the 
religion and civil policy of the Hebrews. The excellent 
Mr. Mede pointed to this use: and the learned Mr. Dau- 
buz endeavoured to prosecute his hint, at large; but 
falling into the visions of Kircher, he frustrated much 
of that service, which the application of hieroglyphic 
learning to scripture language would otherwise have 

A farther advantage may be derived from this long 
discourse : it may open our way to the true Egyptian 
Wisdom ; which by reason of the general mistakes con 
cerning the origin, use, and distinct species of Hiero 
glyphic writing, hath been hitherto stopped up. The 
subject now lies n-:ady for any diligent enquirer; and to 
such an one, whose greater advantages of situation, 
learning, and abilities, may make him more deserving 
of the public regard, I leave it to be pursued. 

But whatever help this may affoid us towards a better 
acquaintance with the ancient Egyptian Wisdom, yet, 
what is a greater advantage, it will very much assist us 
in the study of the Grecian ; and, after so many instances 
given of this use, one might almost venture to recom 
mend these two grand vehicles of Egyptian learning and 
religion, the MYSTERIES treated of in a former volume, 
and the TJTEROGLYPHICS in the present, as the cardinal 
points on which the interpretation of GREEK 
QUITY should from henceforth turn. 



THE course of my argument now brings me to exa 
mine a new hypothesis against the high antiquity of 
Egypt, which hath the incomparable Sir ISAAC NEW 
TON for its Patron ; a man, for whose fame Science and 
Virtue seemed to be at strife. The prodigious discove 
ries he had made in the natural world, and especially 
that superiority of genius which opened the way to those 
discoveries, hath induced some of his countiymen to 
think him as intimate with the moral ; and even to be 
lieve with a late ingenious Commentator on his Optics, 
that as every thing which Midas touched, turned to 
gold, so all that Newton handled turned to demon 

But the sublimest understanding has its bounds, and, 
what is more to be lamented, the strongest mind has its 
foible. And this Miracle of science, who disclosed all 
nature to our view, when he came to correct old Time, 
in the chronology of Egypt, suffered himself to be se 
duced, by little lying Greek mythologists and story 
tellers, from the Goshen of MOSES, into the thickest 
of the Egyptian darkness. So pestilent a mischief in 
the road to Truth is a favourite hypothesis : an evil, we 
have frequent occasion to lament, as it retards the pro 
gress of our enquiry at almost every step. For it is to 
be observed, that Sir Isaac s Egyptian chronology was 
fashioned only to support his Grecian-, which he erected 
on one of those sublime conceptions peculiar to his 
amazing genius. 

But it is not for the sake of any private System that I 
take upon me to consider the arguments of this illus 
trious man. The truth is, his discourse of the empire, of 
Egypt contradicts every thing which MOSES and the 
PROPHETS have delivered concerning these ancient peo 
ple. Though some therefore of his admirers may seem 
to think that no more harm can derive to religion by his 
contradicting the History, than by his overturning the 
Astronomy, of the Bible, yet I am of a different opi 
nion ; because, though the end of the sacred history 

p 4 was 


was certainly not to instruct us in Astronomy, yet it 
was, without question, written to inform us of the va 
rious fortunes of the People of God ; with whom, the 
history of Egypt was closely connected. I suspect, 
therefore, that the espousing this hypothesis may be at 
tended with very bad consequences in our disputes with 
Infidelity. The present turn, indeed, of Free- thinking 
is to extol the high antiquity of Egypt, as an advantage 
to their cause ; and consequently to urge Scripture, 
which bears full evidence to that antiquity, as a faithful 
relater of ancient facts; yet these advantages being chi 
merical, as soon as they are understood to be so, we 
shall see the contrary notion, of the low antiquity of 
Egypt, become the fashionable doctrine; and, what all 
good men will be sorry to find, the great name of NEW 
TON set against the BIBLE. 

It is therefore, as I say, for the sake of Scripture, 
and from no foolish fondness for any private opinion, 
that I take upon me to examine the system of this in 
comparable person. 

His whole argument for the low antiquity of Egypt 
may be summed up in this syllogism : 

OSIRIS advanced Egypt from a state of barbarity to 
civil policy. Osims and SESOSTUIS were the same. 
Therefore EGYPT was advanced from a state of barba 
rity to civil policy in the time of SESOSTRIS. 

And to fix the time of Sesostris with precision, he 
endeavours to prove him to be the same with SESAC. 
But this latter identity not at all affecting the present 
question, I shall have no occasion to consider it. 

Now the minor in this syllogism being the question 
able term, he has employed his whole discourse in its 
support. All then I have to do, is to shew that OSIRIS 
and SESOSTRIS were not one, but two persons, living in 
very distant ages. 

And that none of the favourers of this system may 
have any pretence to say, that the great Author s rea 
sonings are not fairly drawn out and enforced, I shall 
transcribe them just as I find them collected, method 
ized, and presented under one view by his learned and 
ingenious Apologist : " He [Sir Isaac Newton] lias 
* found it more easy to lower the pretensions of the 

" Ancients 


" Ancients than to conquer the prejudices of the Mo- 
" deras. Many of his opinions, that are in truth well 
" founded, pass for dreams ; and in particular his argu- 
u nients for settling the time of Sesostris, which the 
" Greeks never knew, have been answered with scurri- 
" lity, I shall lay together here the evidences that have 
" con v need me of the truth of his conclusion, because 
" he has not any where collected all of them. 

" i. That Osiris and Bacchus were the same, was ge- 
" nerally agreed by the Greeks and Egyptians, and is 
u therefore out of question ; and that the great actions 
" related of Sesostris are true of Sesac, and the diff er- 
" ence between them is only nominal, is affirmed by 
" Josephus. 

" 2. Osiris and Sesostris were both Egyptian kings, 
c who conquered Ethiopia; and yet there never was 
but one Egyptian king that was master of Ethiopia. 

" 3. Both were Egyptian kings, that with a prodi- 
" gious army and fleet invaded and subdued all Asia 
northward as far as Tanais, and eastward as far as 
" the Indian ocean. 

* c 4. Both set up pillars in all their conquests, signi- 
" fying what sort of resistance the inhabitants had made. 
Palestine, in particular, appears to have made little 
" or none, to them. 

" 5. Both passed over the Hellespont into Europe, 
met with strong opposition in Thrace, and were there 
" in great hazard of losing their army. 

" 6\ Both had with them in their expeditions a great 
number of foster brothers, who had been all born on 
" the same day, and bred up with them. 

" 7. Both built or exceedingly embellished Thebes in 
" Upper Egypt. 

" 8. Both changed the face of all Egypt, and from an 
" open country made it impracticable for cavalry, by 
" cutting navigable canals from the Nile to all the 
" cities. 

* 9. Both were in the utmost danger by the conspi- 
" racy of a brother. 

; 10. Both made triumphant entries in chariots, of 
c which Osiris s is poetically represented to be drawn by 

" tigers; 


" tigers ; Sesostris s historically said to be drawn by cap- 
<{ tive kings. 

" n. Both reigned about twenty-eight or thi ty years. 

<l 12. Both had but one successor of their own blood. 

" 13. Bacchus or Osiris was two generations before 
" the Trojan war: Sesostris was two reigns before it. 
" Again, Sesac s invasion of Judaea in an. P. J. 3743, 
u was about two hundred sixty years before the invasion 
" of Egypt in his successor Selhon s time by Sennache- 
" lib ; and from Sesostris to Sethon inclusively there 
" are ten reigns, according to Herodotus, which, if 
" twenty-six years be allowed to a reign, make likewise 
" two hundred and sixty years. 

" In so distant ages and countries it is not possible 
<l that any king, with many names, can be more clearly 
" demonstrated to be one and the same person, than all 
" these circumstances and actions together do prove 
" that Osiris and Bacchus, Sesostris and Sesac, are but 
" so many appellations of the same man : which being 
" established, it will evidently follow, that the Argo- 
te nautic expedition, the destruction of Troy, the revo- 
" lution in Peloponnesus made by the Heraclida3, c. 
" were in or very near the times in which Sir Isaac has 
" ranged them*." 

I. Before I proceed to an examination of these rea 
sonings, it will be proper to premise something concern 
ing the nature of the system, and the quality of the 

i . We are to observe then, that this system is so far 
from serving for a support or illustration of the an 
cient story of these two heroes, that it contradicts and 
subverts all that is clear and certain in Antiquity : and 
adds new confusion to all that was obscure. The annals 
of Egypt, as may be seen by Herodotus, Diodoms 
Siculus, Strabo, Plutarch, and others, who all copied 
from those annals, were as express and unvariable for 
the real diversity, the distinct personality of OSIRIS and 
SESOSTRIS, as the history of England is for that of any 
two of its own country Monarchs. For they were not 

* Mr. Mann s dedication to his tract Of the true Years of the 
Birth and Death of CHRIST. 



vague names, of uncertain or adjoining times ; one was 
the most illustrious of their DEMI-GODS, and the other 
of their KINGS; both fixed in their proper reras; and 
those vastly distant from one another. So that, I make 
no question, it had appeared as great a paradox, to 
an old Egyptian, to hear it affirmed that Osiris and 
Sesostris were but one, as it would be now to an 
Englishman to be told that Bonduca and the Empress 
Matilda were the same. All Antiquity acquiesced in 
their diversity ; nor did the most paradoxical writer, with 
which latter Greece was well stored, ever venture to 
contradict so well-established a truth. And what won 
der? The history of Egypt was not, like that of ancient 
Greece or Suevia, only to be picked up out of the tra 
ditional tales of Bards and Mythologists : nor yet, like 
that of early Britain, the invention of sedentary monks : 
It consisted of the written and authentic records of a 
learned and active Priesthood. In which, the only 
transgression, yet discovered, against truth, is that na 
tural partiality common to all national historiographers, 
of extending back their annals to an unreasonable length 
of time. Let me add, that the distinct personality of 
these two men is so far from contradicting any other an 
cient history, that it entirely coincides with them. Nay, 
what is the surest mark of historic truth, there is, as per 
haps we may take occasion to shew, very stron gcollateral 
evidence to evince the real diversity of these two ancient 
chiefs. So far, as to the nature of the system. 

2. The quality of the evidence is another legitimate 
prejudice against this new chronology. It is chieflv the 
fabulous history of Greece, as delivered by their Poets 
and Mythologists. This hath afforded a plausible sup 
port to Sir Isaac s hypothesis; by supplying him, in its 
genealogies of the Gods and Heroes, with a number of 
synchronisms to ascertain the identity in question. And 
yet, who has not heard of the desperate confusion in 
which the chronology of ancient Greece lies involved ? 
Of all the prodigies of falsehood in its mythologic story, 
nothing being so monstrous as its dismembered and ill- 
joined parts of Time. Notwithstanding this confusion, 
his proofs from their story, consisting only of scraps, 
picked up promiscuously from Mythologists, Poets, 



Scholiasts, &c. are argued from with so little hesitation, 
that a stranger would be apt to think the Fabulous ages 
were as well distinguished as those marked by the Olym 
piads. But the slender force of this evidence is still 
more weakened by this other circumstance, that almost 
all the passages brought from mythology to evince the 
identity , are contradicted (though the excellent person 
has not thought fit to take notice of it) by a vast num 
ber of other passages in the same mythology ; nay even 
in the same authors ; and entirely overthrown by writers 
of greater credit; the HISTORIANS of Greece and Egypt: 
which, however, are the other part of Sir Isaac s evi 
dence; of weight indeed to be attentively heard. Bat 
this he will not do : but, from their having given to 
Osiris and Sesostris the like actions, concludes the 
Actors to be one and the same, against all that those 
Historians themselves can say to the contrary : Yet 
what they wight and what they could not mistake in, 
was methinks easy enough to be distinguished. For as 
Fable unnaturally joins together later and former times ; 
and ancient fable had increased that confusion, for 
reasons to be hereafter given : so History must needs 
abound w-ith similar characters of men in public stations ; 
and ancient history had greatly improved that likeness, 
through mistakes hereafter likewise to be accounted for. 
Indeed, were there no more remaining of Antiquity 
concerning Bacchus, Osiris, and Sesostris, than what we 
find in Sir Isaac s book, we might perhaps be induced to 
believe them the Same ; but as things stand in History, 
this can never be supposed. 

What I would infer therefore, from these observations, 
is this : We have, in the distinct personality of Osiris 
and Sesostris, an historical circumstance, delivered in 
the most authentic and unvariable manner, and by an 
nalists of the best authority. All succeeding ages agreed 
in their diversity; and it is supported by very strong 
collateral evidence. At length a modern writer, of 
great name, thinks fit to bring the whole in question. 
And how does he proceed? Not by accounting for the 
rise and progress of what he must needs esteem the most 
inveterate error that ever was ; but by laying together a 
number of circumstances, from ancient story, to prove 



the actions of Osiris and Sesostris to be greatly alike ; 
and a number of circumstances from ancient fable, to 
prove that the Gods, whom he supposes to be the same 
with Osiris, were about the age of Sesostris. So that 
all the evidence brought by this illustrious writer 
amounting, at most, but to difficulties against the best 
established fact of history ; if we can, consistently with 
the distinct personality and different ages of these two 
heroes, fairly account for the similar actions recorded of 
them; and for the low age, as delivered by the mytho- 
logists, of those Grecian Gods which are supposed to 
be the Egyptian Osiris ; if, I say, this can be done, the 
reader is desired to observe, that all is done that can 
reasonably be required for the confutation of Sir Isaac 
Newton s hypothesis, and for reinstating the ancient 
history of their distinct personality in its former credit. 

But I shall do more; I. I shall shew from the reli 
gious constitutions of Greece and Kgypt, that the inci 
dental errors which the Ancients fell into, concerning 
these two heroes, (of which errors our author has taken 
the advantage, to run them into one) were such as hardly 
any circumspection could avoid. 

2. And still further, that the identity of Osiris and 
Sesostris, in its necessary consequences, contradicts 

II. I proceed then to a particular examination of this 
famous proof of the identity, as it is collected and di 
gested by the learned Master of the Charter-house. 

The first observation I shall make upon it is, that, by 
the same way of arguing, one might incorporate almost 
any two HEROES, one meets with, in early and remote 
history. For as our great English poet well observes, 

: HEROES ARE MUCH THE SAME, the point s agreed, 
1 From Macedonia s madman to the Swede ; 

u The whole strange purpose of their lives, to find, 

Or make an enemy of ail mankind." 

To shew the reader how easily this feat may be per 
formed, I will take any two of our own Monarchs, that 
come first into my thoughts, KING ARTHUR, for in 
stance, and WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR. And now- 
let him only imagine, when arts and empire have learnt 



to travel further West, and have left Great Britain in 
the present condition of Egypt, some future Chronologer 
of America, labouring to prove these Heroes one and 
the same, only under two different names, by such kind 
of Arguments as this : 

i. AKTHUR and WILLIAM were both great warriors; 
2. Both were of spurious or uncertain birth; 3. Both 
were in the management of public affairs in their early 
youth; 4. Both came from France to recover Britain 
from the Saxons; 5. Both proved victorious in their 
expedition; 6. Both got the crown of Britain by elec 
tion, and not by descent; 7. Both had other domi 
nions, besides Britain, to which they succeeded by right 
hereditary ; 8. Both went frequently on military expe 
ditions into France ; 9. Both warred there with various 
success ; i o. Both had half-brothers, by the mother, 
who, being made very powerful, and proving guilty of 
manifold extortions and acts of injustice, were punished 
by them, in an exemplary manner ; 1 1 . Both had re 
bellious sons or nephews, whom they met in the field, 
fought with in person, and subdued; l^. Both reigned 
upwards of fifty years; 13. And both died in War. 

When our Chronologer had been thus successful with 
his argument from similar circumstances, (as in the case 
of Osiris and Sesostris), it is odds but he would go on ; 
and to settle a chronology which made for some other 
hypothesis he had in view, he would next attempt to 
prove, from similitude of names, as before from similitude, 
of actions, that WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR and WIL 
LIAM THE THIRD, another Conqueror, were but one 
and the same, (as in the case of Sesostris and Sesac). 

Here the number of similar circumstances, in the 
lives of Arthur and William, are, evidently, more cha 
racteristic of ONE, than those in the history of Osiris and 
Sesostris. Yet we know that Arthur and William were 
really two different men of two very distant ages. This 
will shew the critics the true value of this kind of evi 
dence; and should reasonably dispose them to much 
caution in building upon it. 


But it will be said, that the nature of the conformity 
between Osiris and Sesostris is, in some respects, very 



different from that between Arthur and William. I grant 
it is so ; and, from those respects, shall now shew, how 
the mistaken identity of Osiris and Sesostris may be cer 
tainly detected. For I go on, and say, though from this 
instance it be seen, that a greater agreement might well 
happen in the lives of two ancient Heroes, than can be 
found in those of Osiris and Sesostris, while their dis 
tinct personality was acknowledged to be very certain 
and real ; yet, in their case, it must be owned, that 
there are peculiar and specific circumstances of simili 
tude, which could not arise from that general conformity 
between the actions of two men of the same quality and 
character ; but must be allowed to have had their birth 
from some fancied identity. For several of the actions, 
given to both, agree only to the time of one : I mean as 
Antiquity hath fixed their times. Thus, tli3 vast con 
quests over Asia agree well with the time of Sesostris, 
but very ill with the time of Osiris : and, again, the in 
vention of the most com-non arts of life agrees very well 
with the time of Osiris, but very ill with that of Sesos 
tris. However, fro*n this conformity in their story, Sir 
Isaac concludes Osiris and Sesostris to be the same. 
And so far we must needs confess, that it seems to have 
arisen from some kind of identity ; a sameness of person, 
or a sameness of name. This great writer contends for 
the first ; but as the first contradicts and subverts all 
Antiquity, if the ascribed conformity oi actions can be 
well accounted for from iLoir identity of name, and that 
identity be proved very probabh irom ancient story, the 
reader will conclude that the fabulous conformity had its 
rise from thence; and, consequently, that all Sir Isaac s 
arguments for their identity of person make directly 
against him. For if the conformity arose from identity 
of name , they were two persons. I shall endeavour to 
shew all this in as few words as I am able. 

I. It was an old Egyptian custom, as we learn from 
Diodorus Siculus, to call their later Heroes by the 
name of their earlier Gods. This historian having spoken 
of the CELESTIAL Gods, according to the Egyptians, 
adds, They held, that besides these, there were other 
EARTHLY Gods, born mortal , who through their wis 

224 THE DIVINE LEGATION [Bookl\ r . 

dom, and common benefits to mankind, had acquired im 
mortality ; that some of these had been kings of Egypt ; 
and that part got NEW NAMES, being called after those 
of the celestial Gods ; and part kept their own *. But 
this custom of calling the later Heroes after the names 
of their earlier Gods, was not peculiar to Egypt. Scrip 
ture informs us, that the Assyrians did the same. And 
the practice must needs have been general. For, as we 
have shewn, the original use of it was to support nascent 
hero-worship f. But there was another cause, more 
peculiar to early Egypt; and that was the doctrine of 
transmigration. For it being thought that the same 
soul passed successively into many human bodies; when 
they saw an eminent Character strongly resembling 
some ancient Hero, they were inclined to fancy it the 
old busy soul, which had taken up its residence in a 
new habitation : and therefore very equitably honoured 
the present Hero with the name of the past. This rea 
son, Tacitus tells us, the Egyptians gave for the great 
number of HERCULES S " Quern [Herculem] indigence 
" [Mgyptii\ or turn apud se 8$ antiquissimum perhibent, 
" eosque qui postea pari virtu te fuerint, in cognomen - 
i turn tjus adscitos J." This was so notorious that Sir 
Isaac could not help owning, it was their way to give 
one common name to several men. Nay even the least 
corporeal resemblance was sometimes sufficient to set 
this superstition on work, and produce the effect in 
question ; as we find from the same Diodorus s account 
of the Grecian Bacchus. He tells us, that when Cad 
mus the Egyptian was come into Greece, and his 
daughter Sernele had a spurious son dying in his in 
fancy, whose person resembled the images of Osiris, the 
grandfather, after having consulted the Oracle (whose 
approbation was contained in the advice, to observe the 
customs of his fathers), called him Bacchus, one of the 

* - " r}v ci-aAez ptv 

iA~<; ytfovivoti ofca/w/xtff UTTiZpp^v TO*? v*o?, -ma; <? i& 

fiav 1. i. p. 8. Steph. ed. f See Div. Leg. b. ni. 6. 

J Annal. 1. ii. c. 60. Omnes, qui fecerant fortiter, HERCULES 
vocabantur, says Varro likewise (as quoted by Servius). 



names of Osiris : paid divine honours to the embalmed 
carcass; and proclaimed abroad, that OSIRIS had chosen 
to come once more amongst men under this infantine 
appearance*. From this custom of giving the names of 
celebrated personages of high antiquity to later men, 
who resembled them in qualities either of mind or body, 
it was, that they not only, out of honour to Sesostris, 
called him Osiris, but, out of contempt and hatred, 
gave MOSES the name of TYPHOX, as appears from 
some later accounts of this Typhon, when they had 
now jumbled Moses and him into one ; as they had 
done their Bacchus s, Hercules s, and Minos s ; and as 
they were very near doing, by Osiris and Sesostris. 
The accounts, I mean, are those which we find in Plu 
tarch, of Typhon s flying seven days, and begetting, 
after his escape, two sons, JERUSALEM and JUD.-EUS^. 
And further that this Typhon was the son of Isaac, and 
of the race of Hercules ]:. 

Causes like these could not fail to make this custom 
very durable, amongst a people not at all given to 
change. And in fact, we find it continued even to the 
time of Cleopatra, who affected to be called the NEW 
Isis||, as her brother was called the NEW BACCHUS^]"; 
At length it became so general as to have no measure 
but the fancy of every particular. For Lucian, defend 
ing the excessive compliments he had given to one 
Panthea, whose form he had compared to the images 
of the Goddesses, justifies himself by examples; and 
amongst the rest, by that of Egypt; I shall not insist 
(says he) upon the practice of the Egyptians, who, 
though they be the most religious of all people, yet em 


wv oet. ruv 
VTTO rS JWole 

* ryv o-^/kv olov IBIQ ol ttatr A lyvTrlov rov Qcrigiv yj/o- 
TO roiarov, Vs run Ssuv jt*jj 
Ka^ov SI al^Q^ivov T> 
pQV tyovlci $K*lv>pe?v roc. ruv inohiytiv vopipiz ^varu 

s. Lib. i. p. 14. 

oa TW TvQuvi ryv tyuyvv iiflot, v>p.e(>cz.<; ytvfoQoti, xa* 
Is. & Osir. 

Plut. in Ant, fi Diod. Sic. 1. i. 



ploy the names of their Gods even to satiety and dis 
gust *. 

To apply this practice to the case of the Heroes in 
question. Osiris was the great Lawgiver of the Egyp 
tians : and the Founder of their Monarchy. Sesostris 
vastly extended and ennohled their Empire ; and was, 
at the same time, author of many beneficial institutions. 
Now if ever an occasion greater than ordinary presented 
itself, of putting in practice the custom of honouring 
later Heroes with the name of the more early, it was 
here, where the resemhlance was so remarkably Strong. 
And if what Clemens Alexandrinus says be true, that 
Sesostris sprung from Osiris t, there was still a farther 
occasion of giving the later Hero the name of his first 
progenitor. However, that it was given him, is highly 
reasonable to suppose. And this supposition will clearly 
account for all that ingrafted likeness from which Sir 
Isaac hath inferred their identity. 

For when now they had given to both, the same 
name; not distinguished, as were their Thoths or 
Hermes s , (another famous instance of this general 
custom) by the addition of first and second, Posterity 
would frequently confound them with one another ; and, 
in this confusion, inadvertently give the actions of Osiris 
to Sesostris, and of Sesostris to Osiris. But taking 
nothing from either, both their histories would soon be 
come the same. And as, in this mutual transferring of 
one another s actions, several were given to both, en 
tirely discordant to cither s age, we are ennabled to dis 
cover the true cause of this conformity ; and thereby to 
prove, that that, which it is plainly seen might be, really 
was, the cause. 

I. Thus Osiris (because Sesostris was so) is made a 
great conqueror, at a time when Egypt was but just 

E<y y r 
To*V SetoK QVQy.a.crw tlq xo^ov iTrt^uf^svaq. Pro. Imag. in fin. 

f Toy v "O<riy, TCP nr^owaTo^a TOV atnti 
[SsVtfrfi?] TzroX^Xw?. Admon. ad. Gentes, p. 31. Edit. Colon. 
1688, fol. 

J The histories of the first and second Hermes are as much con 
founded with one another as those of Osiris and Sesostris, and from 
the same cause ; yet, I imagine, the distinction of Jirst and second 
will hinder any one from supposing them to be the same. 



emerging from a state of barbarism, into civil policy ; 
and long before several of those nations, he was said to 
conquer, had a being. But this seems to be one of the 
latest corruptions in their history. Herodotus giving 
none of these conquests to Osiris, but to Sesostris only : 
whence I collect, it was the product of some age be 
tween him and Diodorus Siculus, who gives them to 
Osiris with all their circumstances, and supported by 
the evidence of pretended ancient monuments*. It ap 
pears too, to have been a Grecian addition, and at a 
time when it was the fashion to make their fables, sys 
tematical -f*. For we are told , (and the tale was 
apparently framed for no other end than to connect this 
God with the rest of the College) that, when Osiris 
made this expedition, he took Silenus with him as his 
Governor; that he appointed Isis, Queen-regent in his 
absence ; and Hermes her privy-counsellor ; Hercules he 
made General of his army, and Neptune, admiral of his 
fleet. And, that nothing might be wanting to complete 
the cortege, he took with him a company of dancers and 
singers j amongst which were nine lively girls more par 
ticularly eminent ; with the king s brother, as master of 
the maids, at their head; and these truly were to pass 
for Apollo and the nine Muses. This quaint improve 
ment on an Egyptian blunder, by some drivelling Greek 
mythologist ||, as rank as it is, is one of the chief circum 
stances on which our illustrious author hath thought fit 

* The columns at Nysa in .Arabia. 

f Ot ^6 "EAA^VE?, evtyvfa tvoiflcts i 

sfi^^aai/lo, y^ roTq vr^oxoa-fAypao-i -BTcifcfaw? i^sl^ot. yuyffciv, ra<V 
gnat s, &ynv ImvQVvitq -arayloift;? t9ro*>t/\Aov. Philo Bib. apud Euseb. 
Praep. Evang. 1. i. c. 10. 

1 TCI/ <? yv "Ocnpn/ (pae-i TO. %al ryv AfyvTrlov xa1arJ(7*v/a> xj ryv 
Tuy aAfc>J/ r,y^^,Qvia.v "icriai T>J yvv&wi ts oc.ftOioovloc,^ rocvrv) piy ^a^otKOtloij-^aan 
ffv/jfeuhoy Toy Ef^v, xat reGtlr.yov pit uTto hWMV aTfuyviq TI$$ vfy UVTO 
%w^a? HpajcAsa ETn^EArjU? ^E ra|t Tuv ptv vrfo<; <j>oti>oj KSxhiptvuif 
fAS(>uv x^ TUV Iffi $GthotT\y TOTTUv BidJ ^tv slvoti jocg tov O<7tiv (piAoy e Aw]a, 
x^ p^aipovla /Ltsa*x>} JcJ p^o^oK. ^to x^ nrEpayecrfiat <ErAi9oj n&ffii(>yu9, sv olq 
mtLj6*v*i lvvi<x, tftumftMttf a 3 EH/, x^ Kara, TO. aAXa <&s jrat$sv[Aeva,<;, ra? 
zzrapa ToT? "EhXvscriv QVOfjiOt^o^voiq Mwaa?, T&ttl a r,ytto-bon TOV AvroXhuv* 
hty&C iVf u,ty x^ MvcrrtyeTW ecvrov ovo(j,a.(7$ou. L. i. pp. 1O, 11. 

|| The very learned Casaubon, speaking of the fables, which con 
cern Bacchus with the Nymphs and Muses, says, Est enim Grceca- 
nicic Tanitatis hoc quoquf mventum, Bacchicas in majus semper attol- 
Untium. De tSatyrica Poesi, p. 41. 

Q 2 tO 


to support his Chronology. And that which is the 
mere representation of an old raree-show of the Court 
.of king Osiris, brought by some stroller out of Egypt 
into Greece, is made an authentic record to ascertain 
the true age of all their Heroes. I am fully supported 
in the conjecture, that the tale of Osiris s conquests was 
invented in some age between Herodotus and Diodorus 
Siculus, by the testimony of two of the soberest and 
most accurate of the Greek writers, Strabo and Arrian ; 
who expressly tell us, that the stories of Bacchus s and 
Herciles s exploits in the Indies were invented by the 
Macedonians to aggrandize the glory of Alexander *. 
;The Egyptians had prepared the materials and made 
them fit for use, by confounding Osiris and Sesostris, 
.;under the common name of Bacchus. 
: 2. On the other hand, Sesostris (because Osiris was 
so) is made the inventor of arts, and the civilizer of a 
jude and barbarous people, to whom he delivered the 
first rudiments of Policy and Religion, many ages after 
they had erected a flourishing and powerful Empire. An 
inconsistence so glaring, that the ancient critics seeing 
these things recorded of Sesostris, reasonably understood 
Osiris to be meant. This doubtless made Aristotle say f 
that Sesostris v/as many ages before Minos : yet Euse- 
ibius places Minos in the times of the Judges. And in 
the twelfth dynasty of Africanus, Sesostris is made to 
reign, according to the calculation of Scaliger j, in the 
1 392d year of the Julian period : that very pomt of time 
on which the extravagant chronology of Egypt had thrown 
Osiris. But there is a passage in ^Elian which proves still 
.more expressly that the Ancients sometimes understood 
Osiris by Sesostris. The Egyptians (says this historian) 
affirm that Mercury taught Sesostris his laws \\ : and 
that Mercury the contemporary of Osiris was here meant, 

* Arrian, 1. v. c. 3. Strabo, 1. ii. p. 771. and 1. xv. pp. 1006, 7. 
Casaub. ed. K roc, tffe pi Hf*x^uiv{ $t xal Atowcra, Meyac-D.^jj; (ASV per 
obftyav -crtra wyEmet, TUV If aXAwv ot -crAtta?, uv iri ** eV9fftoin,fi airtfoc. 
*ai puQufa, xa67TE ** fo. wapy, roTg "EXhvcnv. Strab. 1. XV. 

f 1 rioXy yap viripitviii To<V p0ot; TW MIJW ^acriAejav rj SfO ^f^^* 1 ol. 
l.vii. c 10 

I Vide iMar sham Can. Chron. Secul. X. tit. Nilus Rex. 

Hist. 1. xii. c. 4. 



is seen by another passage of this historian, where the 
same thing is said of all the Egyptians in general. The 
Egyptians boast that MERCURY taught them their 
laws *. 

But though mistake gave birth to this corruption in 
the Egyptian history, yet, without doubt, it was a na 
tional vanity which supported it. For we are told by 
Diodorus f, who made collections from their history, 
that the reason, assigned by the Egyptians for that fa 
mous military expedition, which they had transferred 
from Sesostris to Osiris, was the Hero s beneficent pur 
pose of carrying the new inventions of corn and wine to 
all the savage inhabitants of the earth ; whom it was his 
purpose to reduce from a state of Nature, to Political 
society. The intelligent reader sees plainly, that the 
design of this story was to do honour to Egypt, as the 
common benefactress of mankind. Though I will not 
deny, that the extravagance of the conceit, at the same 
time, shews how much they were at a loss for a rea 
sonable cause of so early an expedition. The difficulty 
of all this did not escape the Sicilian. He frankly owns, 
there is a vast discordancy and confusion in the accounts 
of Isis and Osiris . What seems strange to me is, that 
this did not lead him to the cause here explained, when 
he had so well unravelled the like confusion in the parallel 
case of Hercules and Alcaeus. Their story had been 
disordered, like this of Osiris and Sesostris, from 
Alcaeus s taking the name of Hercules. But Diodorus, 
by the same kind of reasoning || I have here employed 


Alyd jrlioi (potiri tsct,^ E^a TO, vo/juf^ot taf^ayu^vivon. Lib. xiv. C. 34* 
To? E "Ocrtgiv htyu<riv> uo-Trsg tvsgytlwov ov\a ^ 
<rvf^ro 0at, ^aj-oy/^ivsv lirtt^Mv a-traaotv TVV 

TO yv> TUV oLvgwnrettv TJJV TE T$ a^TreTia ^tletav x TQV. cwvpov ra TE t&vpva 
x^ X0ti>a y.otfjrS. L. i. p. 1O. 

TK r* ^oi^uvia. tatQi TTWV TUV Seuv. Ij. i. p. 15. 

trvvviyuvicrulo rov <zzrpo? ra? yiyavla? Ojo ht^v, q>a.yl Trj yvj 


ysvea-w TUV avwTrwv, t,ir txev-qq ^tv yap trap AyvTfoi^ tj 
t &\t\u ruv [/,vpiu)/, TTO ^ TUV 

lUS d t TV, T OTTOt^fjV K TV)V fao^TflV TU 

, Q 3 


to ascertain the diversity of Osiris and Sesostris, shews 
that Alcasus and Hercules were different men ; namely, 
from actions, given to Alcaeus, which could not belong 
to his age. But these being of different nations, the one 
a Greek, the other an Egyptian ; this circumstance af 
forded him an opening which he wanted in the case of 
Osiris and Sesostris, who were both Egyptians. 

And here let me observe, that this ancient practice of 
calling later heroes bv the name of earlier, v\ hether of 

O ** 

their own or of foreign countries, brought still greater 
confusion into some other of their histories ; making the 
Ancients themselves imagine an identity where none 
was ; as in Bacchus, Neptune, Hercules, Mars, Venus, 
Minos, &c. which popular mistakes Sir Isaac employs 
to support another imaginary identity that they never 
dreamt of. 

From this state of Antiquity I would infer these two 
things. First, that, notwithstanding the conformity in 
the histories of Osiris and Sesostris, there is great reason 
to suppose the reality of their distinct personalities, be 
cause the same kind of similitude, arising from the same 
mistake, is found in the histories of many other ancient 
heroes confessedly distinct. Secondly, that there must 
have been, in Antiquity, some very convincing proofs 
of the real diversity of Osiris and Sesostris, to keep 
them, as it did, perpetually separate, notwithstanding 
the sameness in their histories ; when the like kind of 
conformity had melted two or more Bacchus s, Her- 
cules s, Minos s, into one. 

On the whole then, I have shewn, that a sameness of 
name is sufficient to account for the original of the con 
formity in the history of Osiris and Sesostris ; and, having 
done this, I have done all that is needful to ascertain 
their diversity oj person ; there being nothing to oppose 


aii raj^ey^^ rouq 

ovuv i GJKfot$t$o/Aiiir)V (^r j [/.r l i/ t ort stafiapav Tfiv yvsv tuv 
axA>3$. & TTE ^r^cL^uq O,^OT\HV TV ytyovori y%ioov aoilot r 
TO. fs^&iTOt JAE^V) T>55 utfi^^ &%?)[* pulo ytufyiGc,i$ x 
<nrX> Tfc j n&lotKavluv T^V ysufav <e}uv}&%. (AoihXov &v tff^e jruv tu 
y.a\a. rt ; .^attt? O!/^5 rr,v jj^upo^v 

^gw^ij* Lib. i. pp. 14? 


to the full testimony of ancient history, which declares 
for their diversity, besides this conformity of actions. 

But I have done more : I have shewn, that a sameness 
of name was, in fact, the only canse of that conformity; 
and, consequently, that their persons were really different. 
That it could be only a sameness of name, I think, ap 
pears evidently from the giving to each hero, actions 
unsuitable to his age ; as great conquests to Osiris, and 
civil inventions to Sesostris. For I persuade myself* 
(though Sir Isaac be obliged, for the sake of his hypo 
thesis, partly to support, and partly to palliate, this 
convincing circumstance) no one can, in good earnest, 
believe that Egypt was indeed emerging from a state of 
barbarism at the time in which he places Sesostris. Tis 
true, if men will yet suppose so, I have no better argu 
ment against it than the BIBLE : and how far the credit 
of that will go in this enlightened age is not very easy to 
guess. In a word, such unsuitable actions ascribed to 
each, nothing can account for, but a mistaken identity, 
arising from the sameness of name ; for when this had 
advanced, or brought down, the real antiquity of either, 
the historian was to suit their actions to the imaginary 
time. Besides, we know they are not at all scrupulous 
about property, when they find an achievement in their 
way, capable of doing honour to a favourite Hero. 
There is, as might be expected, a pregnant instance 
of this, in the history of this very Sesostris ; of whom it 
was recorded, that he divided the lands of Egypt amoni^st 
the People, reserving an annual rent to the Crown *. 
Now we are very certain that this was done, long before 
his time, under the ministry of the Patriarch Joseph. 
Here the theft lies open. While these Heroes were only 
made to pilfer from one another, there was some difficulty 
to get them convicted ; as where two cheats are taught 
to convey their stolen goods into one another s hands, 
to evade a pursuit : but here an honest man steps in 
to make good his claim, and proves it beyond all ex 

v AtyuTrKoi^t a-vraat TTOV etayov Toy $y.o\,\ict, 
<rov rtiftzyuvov Soviet, ^ awo TT T? wgorwn 
, e?n?|il aTro^opviv airolthsiw netf tinatvlov. Herod. 1. ll. 
c. 109. 

Q 4 But 


But it is our business only to shew that the confor 
mity, in the histories of Osiris and Sesostris, may be 
well accounted for, from a sameness of ^ name. Other 
wise, if the case required it, we should not want positive 
arguments, supported by the soundest part of Antiquity, 
to prove their difference of person. To mention one or 
two only by the way; it has been observed before*, 
that, in substituting Hero, to Planet-worship, the 
Egyptian rulers, in order to bring the people more 
easily into this later species of idolatry, called the Hero 
by the name of a. Celestial God. So Diodorus says. 
that Soljirst reigned in Egypt; called so from the Lu 
minary of that name in the heavens. This was the 
.easier brought about, because the first Civilizers, to 
gain the greater authority, pretended, as was very na 
tural, to be the Offspring of the Sux, that universal 
God of all the uncivilized people upon the earth. Tor 
the same end likewise, namely, to accustom the people, 
even while in the practice of Planet-worship, to the new 
adoration, they turned the compliment the other way ; 
and called the Luminary by the name of the Hero ; the 
same historian telling us, that they called the Sun, Osi 
ris, and the Moon, Jsis. Now the end of this mutual 
transferring of names being only to strengthen their new 
idolatry by giving it a support from the old, it must 
needs be invented on the first introduction of hero-wor 
ship. But hero-worship was as early as the first insti 
tution of civil policy. Therefore the using the name of 
Osiris to this purpose, is a demonstration that he was 
as early as sober Antiquity supposed. Again, Herodo 
tus tells us, and of his own knowledge, that no Gods, 
besides Isis and Osiris, were worshipped by all the 
Egyptians in the same un variable manner f. This I 
think a plain proof of their being the common benefac 
tors of all Egypt, in the invention of corn, wine, and 
civil policy, as the Egyptian annals deliver; their other 
Hero-Gods, as particular and partial benefactors, being 
worshipped variously. But this fixes them in their high 

* See Div. Leg. Book iii. 6. 

f y&g $v a raq atiiTta; U7itx,v\&f. o//atwj Alyi/ir1toi creovlai, <^7\r<v lews 
vt Mg Q<rfyt&K Toy <5# AWWO-QV sivai A/yyo t. T^T^S ce (-pokus uTrctflii; a(- 

V]. L. ii. 0.4-2, 



Antiquity. Again, the calf and ox are owned to be the 
peculiar symbols of Osiris : but the GOLDEN CALF I 
have proved to be an Egyptian symbol ; therefore Osiris 
was, at least, as old as MOSES. And again, 0111 great 
Author owns*, that the king who invented agriculture 
in Egypt, seems to have been worshipped by his sub 
jects in the ox or calf for this benefaction. Now the ox 
or calf was the symbol ot OsiiL>. But agriculture, we 
certainly know, was invented before the time ot Joseph, 
which will bring us to seek for Osiris 700 years higher 
than Sesac, who is our Author s ancient Osiris or Se- 
sostris of Egypt. 

To proceed : Such were the blunders in the history of 
Osiris and Sesostris f, of which Sir Isaac hath taken ad 
vantage, to prove them to be one and the same. And 
it is certain, as was said before, that, had not the sure 
records of Antiquity kept them separate, this jumbling 
of their actions into one another s life had long ago in 
corporated them ; and left no room for Sir Isaac s dis 
covery : for the Ancients were fond of running many into 
one, as appears particularly in the case of Bacchus, 
whose history we come now to consider. 

II. For Sir Isaac farther strengthens the evidence of 
their identity from Egyptian History, with the Grecian 
Mythology : in which BACCHUS is delivered to us as the 
same with Osiris : and Bacchus being but two genera 
tions earlier than the Trojan war, the very age of Sesos- 
tris, this, in his opinion, reduces all three to one. p. 191. 

This identity of Bacchus and Osiris, Diodorus Siculus 
has very accurately confuted J. But to discover the 
general cause of this, and all other their mistaken iden 
tities, we must trace down the religion of GREECE from 
its original. 

It is a certain truth, agreed upon by ancient as well 
as modern writers, that CIVILIZED GREECE received its 
religion from EGYPT. But the way in which this com 
merce was carried on is not so iveli understood. It is 
generally supposed to have been done by adopting, and 

worshipping the very Egyptian Gods themselves. But 

* See note [ZZZ] at the end of this Book, 
t See note [AAAA] at the end of this Book. 
J Lib, i. p. 14. 



this is a capital mistake. It was not till long after their 
first acquaintance with Egypt, and instruction in their 
religious Rites, that they adopted Egyptian Gods : which 
I shall now endeavour to shew. 

In the barbarous ages of Greece their only Gods were 
those natural Divinities, the heavenly Luminaries *. 
But, on their first commerce with Egypt for the arts of 
policy, they found there a new species of idolatry, the 
worship of DEAD MEN; which civilized Egypt had in 
vented ; and which, as they improved in policy, had 
almost worked out their first natural Deities ; the same 
with those of all other uncivilized nations f. This new 
species, the Greeks eagerly embraced: and beginning 
now to take the Egyptian nation for their model in re 
ligious as well as in civil matters, they brought home 
this mode of foreign worship, namely, DEAD MEN DEI 
FIED. Thus far is agreed on all hands. The material 
question is, whether their object were Egyptian hero- 
gods ; or whether, in imitation of that worship, they 
made hero-gods of their own ? The common opinion is 
that they took the Egyptian. I suppose, on the con 
trary, that they must needs make hero-gods of their own , 
and could not, at that time, receive the other. My 
reason is this : 

The greater celestial bodies were Deities in common, 
as their influence sensibly extended over the whole ha 
bitable globe. But hero-worship introduced the new 
idea of local tutelary Deities: and this of necessity. 
For those Heroes were the distinguished benefactors of 
their own nation, at the expence, frequently, of their 
neighbours : and, for such benefits, they were deified. 
Now several causes concurred to make men teach and 
think, that the care and providence of their Heroes, now 
become Gods, was still, as in life, confined to their own 
dear Country : Such as the superior reverence which 
rulers knew the People would pay to a God, whose 
Peculiar they were supposed to be: for, when undis- 
tracted with other cares, he would be supposed at full 
liberty to attend to the minutest concerns of his own 
People : Such again, as the selfishness and pride of the 
worshippers, who would be for ingrossing a God to 

* See Div. Leg. Book iii. f W. ib. 



themselves ; and raising honour to their Country from 
this imaginary property. So that the opinion of local 
tutelary Deities became, at length, one of the most ge 
neral and most undisputed doctrines of Paganism. It 
is delivered to us, for such, by Piato : yet, as the origin 
of hero gods from humanity was to be kept out of sight, 
he carefully disguises the foundation of it. The Gods 
(says he) formerly divided the whole earth amongst 
themselves by lot : not from any contention or quarrel 
about their rights ; for it is absurd to suppose they did 
not know what was Jit for every one s peculiar care , or 
knowing this, that they should endeavour by violence to 
possess themselves of one another s property : but all of 
them receiving in an amicable manner, what fell to their 
share *, in this just method of distribution, each resided 
on his own peculiar : which, having rendered proper for 
cur habitation, they lead and support us as shepherds do 
their flocks and herds in a pasture. Every God there 
fore having his proper allotment, all his endeavours are 
employed to adorn and benefit his own f . This was so 
flattering a notion, that, in after-times, the Pagans car 
ried it even into their Planet- worship : and each climate 
was supposed to be under the proper protection of its 
o\vn Star or Constellation. So that the writer of The 
wisdom of Solomon seems to make this the distinguishing 
mark of Paganism; where praising the God of Israel 
for his ancient mercies to that people, he says, neither 
is there any God but thou, that carest for ALL j. 

Now, such a kind of tutelary God, the Egyptians 
would be so far from offering to others, that they would 
be careful to keep him to themselves. Hence the old 

* To, tpfauv Aaf^apoj/Ie? Serr. translates it deorurn quisque prout 
hominum amore teneretur. I understand it htsc amicorum sortiti 
i. e. re^ons which belonged to gods who were in unity with one 

f* ot yoc.% u Troio Oty ywv morl xola T? TOTTK? ^sAa/j^avov, a X.UT egiv 
(a yap av ogtoov t^.ot Aojo 


^tx^? oe xAJjpo*? Ta (fiihvv Aa/p^afoi/ls? notlun^ov Taiq 
oiov vo/^tT? tlnfHoflet x^ tvoipuKz, t^ S^ippoAot, tctvluv r)//.a? srpt(pov. 
av xar aX^a^ TOTTS? xAj^8^cra>ief Stuv imTvot. iKwptsv. 
Vol. III. p. 109. Ser. Ed. 

Cap. xii. 13. Ovre yap $ o$ | rs ^-Arjv cry, a /xeAf* &s tsavluv, I voc, 



practice of chaining down their Gods (for hero-gods 
were worshipped by statues in human form) when they 
imagined them disposed to ramble ; or to take a liking 
to any of their neighbours. And as the Egyptians 
would be averse to lending, so the Greeks would be as 
little inclined to borrow; for they had now a race of 
Heroes of their own ; those godlike men, who had re 
duced them from a savage to a civilized condition, and 
had given them this very appetite ; the appetite to im 
prove their policy by the assistance of Egyptian wisdom. 
As little too would their own Lawgivers, who brought 
that wisdom home to them, be disposed to offer them 
Egyptian Gods; as knowing how much stronger their 
reverence and adherence would be to Gods made out of 
their own parents and fellow-citizens. But if this were 
the case, (and, in the course of the inquiry, it will be 
proved from fact y as here from the reason of the thing) 
it may be asked, What then was that RELIGION which 
all agree the Greeks borrowed of the Egyptians? I 
answer, the TRADE itself of Hero-worship; or the 
custom of deifying their dead benefactors. But again, 
if this were so, and that the Bacchus, Apollo, Mars, 
Jupiter, &c. first worshipped by the Greeks, were in 
deed Grecian Deities, it will be then asked, how came 
their resemblance to the Egyptian to be so great, as that 
later times should be generally deceived in thinking them 
the SAME? This is a reasonable question, and will de 
serve a particular discussion. There were several causes 
of this resemblance. 

i. Nothing could be more simple than the RITUAL 
of the first Planet -worship, as may be easily collected 
from the nature of that idolatry. But Hero-worship 
necessarily introduced a great number of complex Cere 
monies. For, the commemorating the peculiar benefits 
received from the Hero-god, in his state of humanity, 
would occasion many specific Rites ; and the shadowing 
or concealing his original and especially the blemishes 
in his moral character would necessitate the use of alle* 
goricaL And what this last sort of Rites did not suffi 
ciently cover, the notion propagated amongst his wor 
shippers (on which was founded the rationale of their 
worship) was made to supply, viz. That the DEMONS ,OF 



Heroes had, like men, their inordinate virtues, passions 
and appetites. Plutarch, in his tract .Of the ceasing of 
the oracles, has a remarkable passage to this purpose: 
c< There are in Demons, as in men, a disparity in their 
" virtues -, and, like as in the latter, a mixture of passion 
" and imperfection. Of which, in some, we find only 
" the faint and obscure traces yet remain, as the dregs 
" of evanid matter; in others the vestiges are much 
" stronger, and indeed, indelible : and of this, we have 
" certain marks and tokens dispersed up and down, 
" and preserved in the sacrifices, in the mysteries, and 
" in the ancient mythologic tales *. M In like manner, 
the general memory of the I lero s descent from mortals, 
gave rise to the consultation of ORACLES and adoration 
of STATUES in ii UMAX FORM. Now, when Greece 
borrowed of Egypt the superstition of Hero-worship, 
they would of course borrow such of the Rites and prac 
tices as were peculiar to that superstition; and adapt 
them to their own Hero-gods, as best suited every one s 
character. For the truth of which we have the express 
testimony of Herodotus, who tells us, that the Egyp 
tians were the first authors of religious festivals, pro 
cessions^ and offerings ; and that the Greeks learnt them 
of that people f. But this resemblance, even without a 
studious application of Egyptian rites, must have arisen, 
from the very practice itself of Hero-worship; as ap 
pears from what we have observed of the nature of those 
ceremonies which Hero-worship necessarily introduced. 
To confirm this, we need only consider the case of those 
hero-worshippers of the north and west, the Gauls and 
Suevi ; who did not, like the Greeks, borrow this mode 
of idolatry from Egypt ; being indebted for it to nothing 
but the corruption of our common nature. Now the 
Gods of those Barbarians, and the Rites with which 
their Gods were adored, resembled the religion of 

yx% <y? v 

TO$ p\v u&iv .s x a/xat^uf tTt h&/ctvov t ucrinp TffE^tTjtx.a* TO?$ 
Xi x- Svo-KUTOtffSsrM iVEriv, wv i^w Jt) <ri;//,oAa BroXXap^S $verat xj 

-Ha,vv)yj% ux.<; $t a^ct, x} crojutTnx? xj 

j waga THTUV *EA?njvE$ /xjw.aO>jxcrt. JL. ii. 



Greece and Rome so exactly, that these polite nations 
thought the Gods of the Gauls and Suevi were the same 
with their own ; only worshipped under different names*. 
This was indeed a gross mistake ; but natural to fall 
into : So great a resemblance have Heroes of all times 
and places ever borne to one another; whether they 
were lawgivers, warriors, navigators, merchants, or art 
ists. Nor was their common rise from humanity, and 
their occupations in social life, the only cause of this 
resemblance. There was another; viz. their several 
departments after they were become Gods : some pre 
siding over the elements, as earth, air, or water ; others 
over the passions and pursuits of men, as love, war, 
trade, and the like. To this common resemblance it 
was that at length almost every nation pretended, (as 
we see by Diodorus) that the Gods came originally from 
them. Now if the Gods of these Barbarians, though 
different in name, were for this resemblance, mistaken 
for the Gods of another people, with whom they had 
no commerce ; where was the wonder that the Grecian 
Gods, who had the same name with those of a people 
with whom Greece held a perpetual commerce, should 
for the like resemblance, be believed to be originally 
Egyptian ? 

2. For, secondly, when the Greeks borrowed Egyp 
tian Rites to enrich the worship of their Gods, they 
borrowed Egyptian NAMES of honour, to adorn their 
persons. Thus, for instance, the name of Bacchus, 
one of the appellations of Osiris, was given to the son 
of Semele. Herodotus tells us, that these names they 
did certainly borrow ; and we see by his account, that 
this was all which, in his time, was pretended to be 
borrowed f. This observing historian, in his account of 
the Pelasgi, further confirms this truth, by a very cu 
rious piece of history. " In former times, (says he) the 

* See note [BBBB] at the end of this Book. 

tucivloe. ru OTNOMATA ruv OEWX ES AITYIITOY iXoj- 

t<m pv yg IK ruv cc 
fov. eJoxeo; tav p.a.forct, OLTS Alyvifltt a 
v^^ x^ Aoo~>c^wv (w<; x} wgorigov jto 
x^ ejau , xj XagtTfc i , xj Njjpi^ai", xj TUV w tuv, 
TO. wve^1 er Iv TJJ %) ^/^ ^ ^oi hiy&ffi avrct 

L. ii. c. 50. 

" Pelasgi 


" Pelasgi in their religious worship used to sacrifice of 
" every thing without distinction, to their Gods, as I 
" was informed by the priests at Dodona. They gave 
" neither name nor surname to any of their Gods : for 
<c they had heard of no sucli practice. But their titles 
" were taken from what their worshippers conceived of 
" their providence, directing and ordering all things 
" fitly and harmoniously. But after a long course of 
" time they heard of other Gods, and of their NAMES, 
" which came from EGYPT, and in the last place of the 
" name of BACCHUS. Some time after they consulted 
" the Oracle of Dodona concerning these NAMES: for 
<( this Oracle is supposed to be the oldest of any in 
" Greece ; and, at the time I am speaking of, the only 
" one. Of this Oracle therefore having asked advice, 
< whether they should admit the NAMES, which came 
<c from the Barbarians, into their religion ; they received 
" for answer, that they should admit them. From that 
< c time * therefore they sacrificed with specific multifa- 
" rious Rites, in which they honoured their Gods with 
" these new appellations. And, from the Pelasgi, the 
" Greeks afterwards took up the custom. But the 
C original of each God, and whether they are all from 
c< eternity, and what are their several kinds of natures, 
" to say the truth, they neither knew at that time, nor 
" since. For HOMEII and HESIOD were those who 
< c made a Theogony for the Greeks; gave SURNAMES 
u to the Gods , adjusted their various and specific Rites 
" and Attributes ; and designed and delineated their se- 
" veral forms and figures -f." 


* See note [CCCC] at the end of this Book. 

j* "E0t. o> $ tzotvloe. fffpoTt^QV ol HE^acrfot Stolen ITTZV^O pivot u$ iy&> iv 
Auo*vvv) oloot axacra;, iiruvV[A,iv)v o ao wopa, ETTotEt/vIo aotvl KVTIUV. yotp 
a,x.Yiy.Qtffa,v KOJ -Sfy? $1 i zffgoo uvo[jt,uc civ atpectq UTTO r3 TO ara, o 
roc, <sjdv\a, -ar^//x,a]ds t iaa,cct<; vvpcc,; %o* ETrsi re $1 Xpov 
, ETr^Ooi/lo IK T^? Aif^Trltf awtxo/AEva ra fftfutfoi ruv tuv ru 

vft^ov taoKXu 7rt;0ov1o. x^ t*M 
\v A^dcyn) TO yoi(> 

ot H.e hrx.o- yol t otttfotvieu ret Kvo^atloe. Toe, at,iro TOV 
O M,ai/T>;Vov pasr&ai. UTTO f*tv v) TT Ta ova s 

tix. vwirstto tsi a tffuijy Te 



From this remarkable passage we may deduce the 
following facts ; which, besides the evidence to the mat 
ter in question, are very corroborative of our general 
explanation of Antiquity, i. It appears from hence, 
that the Greeks borrowed the names of the Egyptian 
Gods *, to decorate their own ; receiving them, as He 
rodotus here supposes, by the hands of the Pelasgians. 
2. That they received nothing but the names. 3. That 
the humour of these ancient inhabitants of Greece was 
so far from disposing them to take Egyptian, or Stran 
ger-Gods, that they would not so much as venture on 
their names till they had consulted the Oracle. 4. That 
the Religion of names came in with Hero-worship or 
local tutelary Deities (to which species of Gods names 
were an honorary attribution); and unknown to the wor 
shippers of the natural Divinities, as the Pelasgians and 
all other uncivilized people. 5. That this Religion of 
names was a thing of much consequence in the Egyptian 
superstition, and even characteristic of it; which the 
reader is desired to observe as of use to explain some 
passages in the next section, concerning the propensity 
of the Israelites to that superstition. 6. That one cause 
of that ignorance, which, Herodotus here tells us, the 
Greeks ever laboured under, concerning the original, 
nature, and species of their Gods, and which, as now 
appears, we had not unjustly charged upon them, when 
we ventured to say the same in several parts of this 
work; one cause, I say, was, that those names which 
the Pelasgians had applied to their new Hero-Gods, the 
Greeks, their successors, took and transferred to theirs. 
7. And lastly, (which supports the general argument 
we are now upon) the true sense of the concluding 
words, which has hitherto been grossly mistaken, lies 
open to us For (says Herodotus) Homer and Hesiod 
were those who made a Theogony for the, Greeks ; gave 
surnames to the Gods; adjusted their various and speci 
fic attributes, and rites of worship ; and designed and 
delineated their several forms and figures. What hath 


TO $s t\cn 01 

jflss, jcj Tt//i? TE x^ rep^va? oteXom?, KJ EIO ctvjuv 
t. ii. c. 52, 53. 

< . * See note [DDDD] at the end of this Book. 



been commonly understood by these words is, that in 
Herodotus s opinion, the Greeks knew little or nothing 
of what we call their classical Gods, till Homer and 
Hesiod taught them how they were to be marshalled, 
and had assigned their several departments. A sense 
not only confuted by the poems of those two writers, 
who relate what they saw ESTABLISHED in their own. 
times, but contradicted by what went just before, where 
the historian tells us that Melampus (whom Homer him 
self places three generations before the Trojan war) 
first taught the, Greeks the name, the rites, and the 
mysteries of Bacchus * ; the God last received (if we 
may believe the same historian) after the Religion of 
names were come in fashion. And we have no reason 
to doubt his evidence, when we see the several parts of 
it so well coincide : for if Melampus first taught the 
Greeks the worship of Bacchus, this God must needs 
be the last received by them. But indeed, the whole 
context excludes the common interpretation, and directs 
us to one, very different. The Pelasgians (we are told) 
received the RELIGION OF NAMES from the Barbarians 
[i. e. the Egyptians] ; by which, the Gods were divided 
into their several classes. This new doctrine, the Pe 
lasgians conveyed down to the Greeks. But (says the 
historian) the original of each God, and whether they 
are all from eternity, and what their several kinds and 
natures are, to say the truth, they neither knew at that 
time, nor since. He then immediately subjoins the rea 
son of their ignorance FOR Homer and Hesiod were 
these who made a Theogony for the Greeks -, gave SUR 
NAMES to the Gods; adjusted their various and specific 
rites and attributes ; and designed and delineated their 
several forms and figures: and a convincing reason it 
is; for Homer s and Hesiod s being the popular and 
only authorized books of Theology amongst the Greeks, 
which assign the names, the attributes, and iheform to 
each God, and their accounts being, at the same time, 
overrun with fables and fictions, it was impossible even 
for the Greeks themselves to develop the confusion, and 

* v H&j uv dbxiii /AO* MEtotjEtfrac o AfAwOewv* T?K 9<TM)f TVTHJ x 
jTa a^ar^, aTvA* tiAirsip*, "EAT^tri ya,(> 5j MeXa/XTra? ey* o ^ny^a-a^v^ 
Ttf AiovtJc-tf, TOTS v/x ? ju TV* Svff w, * jyjv wopirw T $A/\3. C. 49. 

VOL. IV. R eman- 


emancipate themselves from that ignorance here com 
plained of, namely, of the true natures of their Gods : 
which indeed, their Teachers seem to have known as 
little of as themselves. For Homer when he speaks of 
Jupiter, sometimes represents him as a God from eter 
nity, at other times as only the head of the college of 
their terrestrial Deities. This then was what Herodotus 
meant to say ; who is not speaking of the INVENTIONS 
of Homer and Hesiod, but of their AUTHORITY. Whe 
ther they were the first who propagated or delivered 
these things, was not the matter in question. Had it 
been so, we know how Herodotus would have decided ; 
who, in this very place, expressly tells us, who were 
the FIRST; namely, the Pelasgians ; who delivered them 
to the Greeks; uliere Homer and Hesiod found them. 
However, on the common interpretation, gross as it is, 
Sir Isaac Newton builds one of his strongest arguments 
in favour of his new Chronology. To proceed : 

3. The Greeks not only borrowed the NAMES, but. 
likewise the SYMBOLS of the Egyptian Gods ; and fitted 
them to their own. A very natural superstition, as ap 
pears by the practice of the Hebrews in the wilderness ; 
who, in the absence of Moses, running back into Egyp 
tian idolatry, would needs worship the God of their 
Fathers under an Egyptian Symbol ; and with Egyptian 
Rites likewise, and the people sat down to eat and drink, 
and rose up to play. Now had God, on this occasion, 
persisted in the seventy of his justice, where he tells 
Moses, that he would indeed give them the land of 
Canaan, and drive out the inhabitants before them, 
because he had promised Abraham so to do, yet that 
he would not honour them, as a select People, with his 
peculiar protection : Had, I say, God thus cast them 
off, and the people departed with their new Leader, the 
GOLDEN CALF, into Canaan ; and there made it the 
visible representative of the God of their Fathers, and 
worshipped it with Egyptian Rites ; who can doubt but 
that the late posterity of this people, thus abandoned by 
God, and given up to make and believe a lie, would have 
supposed that their Forefathers had worshipped Osiris, 
and not Jehovah, under this golden calf? The case 
needs no application. 



Tliis then was the whole of what Greece borrowed 
from Egypt in matter of religion, when it FIRST learnt 
the mode of Hero-worship from that superstitious people. 

4. It must be owned, that soon after, they did indeed 
adopt STRANGER Gods. At first the occasion was rare, 
and the Worship particular and confined. Thus the 
Athenians labouring under a destructive famine, and 
relieved by Egypt with corn, did, in gratitude for that 
benefit, make Isis the patron- Goddess of their Mys 

Their Migrations were another cause of this adoption : 
for every region having a local tutelary Deity, the new 
Colony thought themselves obliged to worship the God 
of that place in which they came to settle. But, of this, 
more in another place. 

However, in process of time, the Greeks naturalized 
all the greater Gods of Egypt. For we are to observe 
that, as superstition grew in bulk, the principle of* IN 
TERCOMMUNITY, arising from the very essence of Pa 
ganism, at length overspread all their National Reli 
gions, so as to bring things round again. We observed, 
that those most early Idol gods, the Celestial luminaries, 
were common to all nations, and that Hero-worship 
brought in the idea of local tutelary Deities : now, the 
principle of INTERCOMMUNITY at length broke down 
this inclosure, and turned all their Gods again upon the 

" The grazed ox, and all her bleating Gods *." 

But to be a little more particular concerning these va 
rious revolutions in the genius of Paganism. The first 
idolatry was Planetary : and so long, their Gods were 
in common. But Hero-worship, by bringing in local 
tutelary Deities, made their Gods peculiar. As the times 
grew polished, and the absurdity of MORTAL GODS be 
came better understood, the Managers of this super 
stition were obliged to hide their origin from Earth, and 
to pretend they had ever been Celestial. This soon 
wore out their peculiarity, and brought in again the 
notion of their general providence : which, by means of 

* Milton. 

R 2 an 


an increasing superstition, ended in an universal INTER 
COMMUNITY. To explain all these particulars, as they 
deserve, would require a volume. And not much less 
perhaps might be collected from what hath been occV 
sionally said of them, in the course of this work. Onfy 
one attendant circumstance in these revolutions, it may 
not be improper to take notice of, as it greatly contri 
buted to fix the later Greeks in their mistake concerning 
the origin of their Hero-Gods. It was this : The learned 
Egyptians, as we have observed, at length contrived to 
hide the deformity of their idolatry by pretending that 
the whole had a reference to the ONLY GOD. Thus 
their various l&ruie-worsni]), they said, was severally 
relative to the various attributes of the DIVINITY. The 
same kind of refinement they brought into their Hero- 
worship : and each of their greater Gods they made 
significative, some way or other, of the FIRST CAUSE. 
But to perfect this part of their symbolical Theology, it 
was necessary to make large additions to the Legends 
of those Gods. And thus the several parts of Isis s 
history became relative to the divine Nature, But Isis 
being now possessed of all the attributes, which happened 
to be severally divided amongst the various Grecian 
Goddesses, the Greeks began to think that these were 
all originally derived from her. This was the established 
doctrine in the time of Apuleius : who makes Isis address 
herself to him in these w-ords: En assum- rerum natura 
parens cujus numen unicum multlforml specie, ritu 
va?*io 9 nomine multijugo, tot us veneratur or bis. Me 
primigenii Phryges Pessinunticam nomlnant Deurn 
inatrem ; hinc Autochthones Attici Cecropiam Miner- 
vam ; illinc Jiuctuantes Cyprii patriam Venerem ; 
Cretes Sagittiferi Dictynnam Dianam ; Siculi trilin- 
gues Stygiam Proserpinam ; Eleusinii vetustam Deam 
Cererem ; Junonem alii, alii Bellonam, alii Hecaten, 
Rhamnusiam alii JEgyptii ceremoniis me prorsus pro- 
priis percolentes appellant vero nomine Is ID EM *. 

OSIRIS too, becoming equally symbolical, made his 
fortune in the same manner, as appears by this ancient 
epigram : 

* Metam. 1. xi. p. 378. 



Ogygia me Bacchum vocat, 
OSIRIN JEgyptus put at, 
Mysl Phanacen nominant, 
Dionyson Indi existimant, 
Romano, Sacra Liber urn, 
Arabica gens Adoneum, 
Lucaniacus Pan the urn *. 

Thus have I explained the several causes which occa 
sioned the later Greeks to think their own God? were 
originally Egyptian; for understanding that the Rites, 
the Names, and the very Symbols of their Gods were 
borrowed from thence, they concluded the same of the 
Gods themselves. And with good appearance of reason, 
as they found too that the ages immediately preceding 
theirs, had certainly adopted Egyptian Gods; which 
Gods had all the attributes of the Grecian. Now when 
this opinion was once generally embraced, they would, 
of course, invent a Legend for the Gods, conformable 
to the Egyptian history of them. And thus we see the 
reason why they made their BACCHUS but two genera 
tions earlier than the Trojan war, of which age he was ; 
and yet made him OSIRIS, the conqueror of India, which 
he was not f . But their more intelligent historians per 
ceived the absurdity ; and so, reasonably satisfied them 
selves in supposing a double Bacchus: but being, as 
Herodotus observes, very Ignorant of the true origin of 
their Religion, it was a mere gratuitous solution : which 
made it easy for Sir Isaac to evade it ; by only supposing, 
in his turn, that it was their wrong notion of the high an 
tiquity of Egypt which made them split one Bacchus 
into two. And yet in another instance, he frankly enough 
allows of this ancient practice of the communication of 
names %. But he gives the fact reversed ; for they were 
the earlier Greeks who worshipped two Bacchus s. And 
it was late, as we find by Diodorus, ere they incor- 

* Ausonius, Ep. xxx. 

f See note [EEEE] at the end of this Book. 

I The Phenicians, upon their first coming into Greece, gave the 
name of Jao-patr, Jupiter, to every king. Chron. of Ancient Kings 
amended, p. 150. 

E 3 porated 


porated them into one *. Now had the cause of their 
duality been what the great writer supposes, the fact 
had been just contrary ; and earlier times had worshipped 
one Bacchus, and the later, two. The truth of the case 
then is this : when they first worshipped Hero-Gods, 
they had but one Bacchus and one Hercules, &c. and 
these were Grecian : when they afterwards borrowed 
the Egyptian Gods, they had two of each. And this 
is not said at random ; for Herodotus f and Diodorus J 
expressly tell us, that two Bacchus s and two Hercules s 
were worshipped by different Rites, and as Gods of dif 
ferent original, the one Grecian, the other Egyptian. 
And at length, for the causes explained under the next 
head, the two of each were again reduced to one. For 
we shall now see, that design as well as mistake contri 
buted to confound the Grecian Bacchus with the Egyp 

III. For our illustrious Author makes another use of 
the Grecian mythology, to support his system. He 
examines the genealogies of their Gods and Heroes; 
and finds them to coincide exactly with the time of 
SososTuis|j : A farther evidence of the truth of his 
There are but few cases in which one would seriously 
admit the testimony of a Mythologist. Least of all, 
in settling of dates. The most learned of the moderns 


a UVTOV wfoo-ayo^iv&ivcu ksyucri, ^a TO orafyoj fjt.iv Ivoj 
$vo &K>vvo"t}s, f^i^le^uv at SutTv xjxA^oyo^ojx/j/flu $t TOV i/eurtpov 
irsga cr^|ii?. lt*gy) T? METAFENEZTEPOYS avtyuirxs, 

AINOOYNTAS jAv raArjOgj, i sr^ntvri^vli; $1 <Jta T^V opuvvpia.*, ivce, yeyovtvcti 

i/opiffcu Aiovvcrov. L. iv. p. 148. 
Ka< <5b>tE 

\u\ , svotyi&c-i. Herod. 1. ii. c. 44. 

oe Tiveq x^ iTegov Aiovvtrov ysfovtvtn vrohv ToTj 
TSTa. (pairi yaf IY. A*o$ * 


aryyasria? iiraxoXuGSerav. Diod. 1. iv. p. 148. These nightly and secret 
Rites shew them to be Egyptian. As for what is said of the other 
Bacchus s being the son of Proserpine, this was only a fancy of the 
Creeks, on observing the mysteries of Bacchus and those of Ceres or 
Isis to have a great resemblance : but this was only occasioned by 
their being both Egyptian llites. 
|j Page 191. & seq. of the Chron. of Ancient Kingdoms amended. 


complain greatly of them for confounding all time in 
their pretended relations of fact. The excellent bishop 
STILLINGFLEET thus expresseth himself: We see those 
[Thncydides and Plutarch, whose confessiop r he had 
quoted] who were best able to judge of the Greek Anti 
quities, can jind no sure footing to stand on in them ; and 
what basis can we find for our faith, where they could 
find so little for their knowledge ? And those who have 
been more daring and venturous than these persons men 
tioned, what a labyrinth have they run themselves into ? 
How many confusions and contradictions have they in 
volved themselves in? sometimes writing the passages 
of other countries for those of Greece, and at other 
times so confounding times, persons, and places, that 
one might think they had only a design upon the under 
standings of their readers, to make them play at blind- 
man s buff in searching for the kings of Greece *. And 
the candid and accurate bishop CUMBERLAND speaks 
so much to our purpose, that I shall add his words to 
the foregoing: Their mythic writers confound and lose 
all the times of their Gods-, which advantage divers 
Christians make use of against them : and this was a 
good argument ad hominem, as it is called, but is not 
sufficient to prove, that idolatry, and the heathen Gods, 
are of so LATE AN ORIGINAL, as some, both Heathen 
and Christians, have affirmed them to be f*. Notv 
though, in answer to what Sir Isaac Newton brings from 
such writers, it were enough to say, with those who have 
considered their character before me, that they are so 
perplexed, contradictory, and infinitely fabulous, that 
nothing certain can be gathered from their accounts, 
for the regulation of ancient time ; yet that they may 
never appear again amongst witnesses of credit, or be 
heard in matters of fact, 1 shall endeavour to shew, from 
what sources those accounts arose, from which the low 
date of the Egyptian Gods is inferred : whence it will 
appear that they are a heap of fictions, invented and 
contrived, as usual, only for the support of greater. 

i. Thejirst source was the address of the EGYPTIAN 
PRIESTS, to screen their Hero-worship from the inqui- 

* Orig. Sacr. p. 41. 8th edit. 
t Sancboniatho, p. 132, 133. 

" R 4 sition 


sition of the curious. We have observed, from a fa 
mous fable, invented by these men *, to record the 
danger which this superstition incurred, and from their 
art in ending that danger, that the original of their 
Hero-Gocts was a subject maliciously pursued by the 
Free enquirers of those times. For the discredit at 
tending this superstition was, that these GODS had been 
MEN; and the proof of their humanity was taken from 
their late existence. Now what did these Masters in 
their trade do, to evade this evidence? We have seen 
before what they did to obscure the enquiry. Wliy, by 
an equal effort of their skill, they invented a set of fables 
(one of which has been examined above) concerning these 
Gods ; which brought their births even lower down than 
to the times of their established worship. What they 
gained by this was considerable : They threw a general 
confusion over the whole history of these Gods : and in 
a short time made men as indisposed to give credit to 
the old stones of them (from whence the dangerous truth 
of their HUMANITY might be collected) as these new 
fables, which it was impossible they should believe, for 
the reason just now assigned. Hence, the first source 
of the low dates of these Hero-Gods. 

2. The second, was the extravagant vanity of the 
Greeks in pretending, at length, to be original even to 
the Egyptians themselves. For we are to observe, that 
there were three distinguished periods in the Religion of 
civilized Greece ; two of which we have described 
already. The first was, when the Greeks borrowed 
Egyptian Rites and Ceremonies to adorn their own 
Hero- gods : the second, when they adopted the very 
Egyptian Gods : and the third, when, on the contrary, 
they pretended that the Egyptians had adopted Theirs. 
On their first acquaintance with Egypt, they were modest, 
and fairly allowed its superior Antiquity. But as they 
advanced in arts and empire, they grew intoxicated with 
their good fortune ; and would now contend with Egypt 
(become by this time as much fallen and depressed in 
both) for the honour of priority; and soon after (as 

* The fable I mean is that of Typhon s persecution of the Gods 
and their flight into Egypt ; which the Greeks borrowed and fitted 
p with their own nameg of the Gods. 



was no wonder when they had ventured so far), with all 
the rest of mankind *. And then it was, that having, 
before this time, thoroughly confounded the Grecian 
and Egyptian Bacchus with design (a confusion first oc 
casioned by mistake) they invented many fables to coun 
tenance their absurd pretensions. Hence their idle tale 
of Apis, the son or grandson of Phoroneus, becoming 
OSIRIS; without any other reason in the world than 
that the son of Phoroneus chanced to have the same 
name with the symbol of Osiris. Hence, again, the 
fable of lo, the daughter of Inachus, becoming Isis ; 
for scarce so good a reason ; only an approaching simi 
litude of names. Yet these two wretched fables, Sir 
Isaac Newton (surprising as it is) hath drawn in for the 
main supports of his hypothesis >f . But as much credit 
as his countenance hath given to them, he who can sup 
pose lo to be stolen out of Greece, carried into Egypt, 
and there made a Goddess, may as well believe an Eu 
ropean ship to be now busied in bringing hither an 
Indian savage to be made a queen. 

But another story of the same stamp, carries its con 
futation along with it, as Herodotus rightly observed J. 
For, to bring Hercules, as they had done Isis and 
Osiris, out of Greece into Egypt, in a manner suitable 
to his character, they pretended that, when he had 
landed on that inhospitable shore, and was led by the 
Natives, crowned with garlands, to be offered up at the 
altar of Jupiter, he broke loose from his leaders, and 
slaughtered all who were assembled for the Sacrifice : 
and in this rough manner, I suppose, taught them to 
abolish those inhuman rites, and to worship their chas- 
tiser as a God : which would seem to have been the 
first bringing in of club-law into Religion. But, as 
Herodotus observes, the inventor of this fable hath laid 
his story so ill together, that he hath only betrayed his 
own ignorance of Egyptian Manners. For, from the 

Aa0av<7* y ctvTBt; TO, TUV EtoWi^ xaiap9ajual, -ap uv p* on yt 

genes Laertius, Prooem. Segm. 3. 
t Page 192. of his Chronology. 

e -sroAAat t aAAa cmwicrxcVl&Jj ("EXtav&f eyijOjj? e UVTSUV xj 
Jn, rov &tp} Ttf Hgaxto tr; A/yw* ? am* 9rwo/Ae* If 
. ! ii. c. 45. 



most early time, the inhabitants of the Nile were so far 
from offering up human victims, that they held it un 
lawful to sacrifice above three or four species of animals. 
But the Egyptians owed them a good turn for this slander 
of human sacrifices ; and indeed paid them with usury. 
For Herodotus tells us, the Priests informed him, that 
when Menelaus went to Egypt to enquire after Helen, 
and lay wind-bound in their ports, he cut up two 
children of the natives, to divine by their entrails *. 

This humour of priority was so rooted in the Greeks, 
that Diodorus seems to insinuate, they always disputed 
it with the Egyptians -f- . And so far indeed is true, that 
it was one of their most early vanities J : and though 
afterwards, on their most intimate acquaintance with 
Egypt, it was in some degree corrected, yet it burst out 
again, and lasted, as we see, even to the time of Dio 
genes Laertius. But this is the pleasant part of the story ; 
The Egyptians were not content to complain, as well 
they might, that the Greeks had stolen away their Gods 
and Heroes ; but they would needs make reprisals on 
them. Thus, as Diodorus tells us, when they charged 
: e Greeks with taking away their Isis, to aggravate the 
theft they pretended that Athens itself was originally but 
an Egyptian Colony ||. This was a home stroke: but 
the Greeks as handsomely returned it ; by affirming that 
one of the Egyptian pyramids was built by Rhodope, a 
Grecian whore ^f. This setting up one false claim to 
oppose another, was in the very spirit of ancient Pa 
ganism **. So again, the Egyptians maintaining that 
civilized Greece was indebted for the mode of Hero- 
worship to them ; did, in order to support a just claim, 
which wanted none of these arts, pretend to Antiquity 

* ActQuv yap ctvo menace, txvfyuv liri^/u^uvj tvlopa, ?$ict, fTroiytri. Herod. 
1 ii. c. 119. 

f ri< ^e TTJ? Ttt & m ^ysv yevs? o^^atoTnl ^ povov a^<>K7&;lS<Tv 
** tov$-> aAAa tt) nroX^ot TUV BccgGctguv savin j at To^Ocva; Ae/ovley. p. 6. 

J See 3. pp. 84 & seq. 

|| Ka* Ttf? A$r,va. ujs & ^<%<7jv TO*XJ el von SaVrwv TUV l| Alyvvflu* 
Diod. p. 17. 

[[ See note [FFFF] at the end of this Book. 

** In the former part of this work where we have shewn, that the 
Cpnverts from Gentilism unhappily practised it even after they had 
professed a Religion which condemns all the oblique arts of falsehood, 
and unjust retaliation. 



most extravagantly high. The Greeks, not to be behind 
hand with them, and to support a false claim which did 
want these sort of arts, having pretended that the Egyp 
tians borrowed all from them, brought down the age of 
these disputed Gods as much too low. Unluckily, the 
great Author, who saw the unreasonable Antiquity of 
the one system, did not advert to the unreasonable No 
velty of the other. 

But we are not to think the Greeks firm and steady 
in this natural consequence of their unjust pretensions. 
Nothing is so inconstant as falsehood. When, therefore, 
on the issue, it was seen that all the Records of former 
times contradicted this novelty ; and, consequently, that 
their ^darling claim itself was likely to be in danger, they 
shifted their support, and then contended, in imitation 
of the Egyptians, for as extravagant an Antiquity *. 

IV. Hitherto Sir Isaac Newton was drawn in by 
Antiquity ; which had sunk with him, and foundered 
in the treacherous soil of Mythology. But the greatest 
part of his reasoning, from these Genealogies, stands 
upon an error of his own. The age preceding the de 
struction of Troy is full of the loves and intrigues of the 
greater Divinities : who supplied that expedition from 
their own loins with Demi-Gods once removed. Sir 
Isaac, who supposed, as indeed he well might from 
physical observation, that the Gods left off getting 
children when they died, concludes, from the mythologic 
account of their Offspring, that they must needs have 
lived but two or three generations before the war of 
Troy. But our great Philosopher took this thing a deal 
too seriously. The truth is, he concerned himself no 
farther with the fabulous history of ancient times than 
just served the purpose of his system. Otherwise, he 
might have found, on the most cursory survey, that one 
of the essential attributes of a Pagan God was the getting 
of Bastards : and that, for one he fairly had in life, his 
worshippers fathered an hundred upon him after his 
decease. This amorous commerce between Heaven and 

Tlctvlttiv ov) orpuTov [AvyjcrvufAsv, OT TO xs^a^atov yv lwaxi$ try y\\iu t 
a.q? a yeyovus l^j/t/Qo -oroAi/x,^ TOK & vn\% H^axAeta? r>jAa? ffo; xoIotS<sri 
x- TO<? ewe? vrtza iv ov oT vvv otaTrtpaimv* TUV ulv ai/ yfre rj tzro ^K apyaaa 

ptv ai/ yoe. v) tzroXij 
eAsy/lo. Plato, vol. iii. p. 108. E. 



Earth never ceased till near the latest times of Paganism ; 
as we learn from the primitive Apologists ; who, referring 
to their perpetual intrigues in mythologic story, rally the 
idolaters, of their time, with great vivacity, on the de- 
crepid old age and sudden debility of their Gods. 

It being then notorious that, in the later ages of Pa 
ganism, Earth swarmed as thick with the progeny of 
Heaven, as in the early times of that religion, Heaven 
swarmed with the progeny of Earth, Sir Isaac s calcu 
lation, from the time of the sons and grandsons of the 
Gods, what must needs be their own, is altogether fal 
lacious. But as, in this inquiry, we have still attempted 
to account for the fables of Antiquity, in order to detect 
their various impostures, and prevent their future mis 
chief, we shall now consider the original of those in 

i . The first cause of this doubly-spurious Offspring, 
was the contrivance of wives to hide their adultery ; of 
virgins to excuse their incontinence ; and of parents to 
cover the dishonour of their House *. The God bore 
the blame, or rather the Mortal reaped the glory; and 
Passion, as is usual, was advanced into Piety. Great 
men too, employed it, (for then Great men had some 
regard for their Race and Name) to conceal the igno 
miny of a low-born commerce. In a word, both sexes 
soon learnt the sweets of a holy intrigue ; where a pre 
tended converse with a God or Goddess preserved the 
reputation of the weaker, and procured power and au 
thority to the stronger sex. Sometimes the pretended 
amour was mutually concerted between the real parties : 
as that of Anchises and a Country wench ; who, in regard 
to his honour, was to pass for a Venus. So Homer f : 

" Divine yneas brings the Dardan race, 
" Anchises son by Venus stol n embrace ; 
" Born in the shades of Idas secret grove, 
" A mortal mixing with the Queen of Love." 

Mr. POPE. 

* See note [GGGG] at the end of this Book. 
aZr v, It ? 


tv xmpow, Sect fyoly swMffot. I*. C. ver. 8lQ. 

Yet this is one of the instances Sir Isaac brings to prove the low age 
of the Goddess Venus. See p, 191. of his Chronology. 



And, in a much later age, the Wife of Philip of Ma- 
cedon and her Court-gallant. Sometimes aa-un, one of 
the parties was deceived by the mask of divinity which 
the other had impiously assumed, as seems to have been 
the case of Astioche * : 

<( Two valiant brothers rule th undaunted throng, 
<c lalmen and Ascalapus the strong : 
" Sons of Astioch& the heavenly fair, 
" Whose virgin charms subdu d the God of war : 
" In Actors court , as she retired to rest, 
tc The strength of Mars the blushing maid comprest." 

Mr. POPE. 
And of the priestess Rhea, 

--- - - Quern Rhea Sacerdos 
FURTIVUM partu sub luminis edidit auras, 
--- Mista Deo Mulier f. 

And of Alcmene the mother of Hercules. It was cer 
tainly the case of the virtuous Paulina, in the reign of 
Tiberius : who, being made to believe that the God 
Anubis was fallen in love with her, went to the appointed 
assignation with a mind equally balanced by conjugal 
chastity and superstition. The story is very curious, 
and told by Josephus in all its circumstances. In 
short, if we may believe Ovid, who was exquisitely 
skilled in the mythologic story, this was one of the most 
common covers of lust and concupiscence. The pre 
tended nurse of Semele is made to caution her mistress 
agianstthe addresses of Jupiter, in the following manner : 

--- Opto 

Jupiter ut sit, ait; Metuo tamen omnia. MULTI 
2. Another cause was the ambition of the pretenders 
themselves to heavenly birth, in order to support their 
authority amongst their barbarous subjects or followers. 


* Tuv Y,p% Acrxa^a^ K} laA/xs*- vie? " 
Qvq Ttxev Affop^j $of/.u Axlogot; 

gwxgcispu o o re^sad AACt)PH. IX. /3. ver, 512. 

f JEn. 1. vii. ver. 659. See Dionys. Halicarn. Antiq. Rom. 1. i, p. 62. 
| Antiq. Jud. 1. xviii. c. 3, See, for this general practice, Herod. 
1. i. c. 181. 

|| Metam, 1. iii, fab, 3, 


Thus we are told, that the two Amazon queens, Mar- 
thesia and Larnpeto, gave out that they were the 
daughters of Mars, ne successibus deesset auctorltas (says 
the historian) genitas se MARTE prcEdicabant *. And 
thus Romulus and Remus pretended to the same re 
lation : But this matter is explained more at large in the 
discourse on the ancient Lawgivers f. 

3. A third cause was the flattery of sycophants and 
corrupt Courtiers. To this practice Clepolemus alludes, 
in his address to Sarpedon : 

" Know thy vain self, nor let their flat fry move, 
" Who style thee son of cloud -compelling JOVE. 
< How far unlike those chiefs of race divine ! 
" How vast the diff rence of their deeds and thine J ! " 

Mr. POPE. 

4. A fourth cause was a mere figure of speech com 
mon in the eastern phraseology : which, to express the 
qualities of the subject, called a prudent and powerful 
monarch || the son of Jupiter ; a violent and inhuman 
rayager ^[, or an expert and able seaman, the son of 
Neptune ** ; a sharper, a banker, or a large trader, the 


* Justin. Hist.l. ii. c. 4. f Div. Leg. Book ii/ 2. 

J YEWdojOrEyot OE CTE (pzffi Aioj yavov otlyio^oio 

Ok Ato? EJj-Eysvovlo ETT* GrgQlsguv ouQguKav. IA. E. ver. 635. 

IJ The words of Callimachus, in his Hymn to Jupiter, are so ap 
posite to our purpose, that the learned reader will not think them 
quoted Impertinently : 

t Atoj u^lv owuKiuv 

Ver. 76, & seq. 

5[ Priestantissimos virtute, prudentia, viribus, Jovisjilios, poetae 
appellaverunt, ut ^Eacum, *Sc Minoa, & Sarpedona : Ferocissimos et 
immanes et alienos ab omni humanitate tanquam e mari genitos, 
Neptuni Jilios dixerunt, Cyclopa, & Cercyona, & Scyrona, & 
Laestrygonas. A. Gellius, lib. xv. c. 21. 

** Thus in the Argonautic expedition Typhis the pilot, and his 
mate Ergynus, were called the sons of Neptune. And when these 
died in the voyage, they were succeeded by Ancasus and Euphemus ; 
and both of these, we are told, were the sons of Neptune, likewise. 
I chose to give the reader this instance, because, from this figure of 
speech, thus qualifying men any way distinguished in the Argonautic 
times, Sir Isaac Newton infers the low age of the Grecian Deities. 


son of Mercury ; a cultivator of the fine arts, the son 
of Apollo ; a great warrior, the son of Mars ; a beau 
tiful woman, the daughter of Venus ; and a good phy 
sician, the offspring of ,/Esculapius. Thus Homer, 

" In thirty sail the sparkling waves divide, 
" Which Podalirius and Machaon guide. 
" To these his skill their Parent-God-im parts, 
" Divine professors of the healing arts *." 

Mr. POPE. 

And that the poet meant no more than that they were 
excellent in their profession, appears from his giving 
to all the Egyptians the same original, where, speaking 
of their superior eminence in the art of physic, he 

* These drugs, so friendly to the joys of life, 
" Bright Helen learn d from Thone s imperial wife ; 
" Who sway d the sceptre, where prolific Nile 
" With various simples clothes the fat ned soil 
" From Paon sprung, their patron God imparts 
u To all the Pharian race his healing arts ^" 


5. The last cause I shall mention were the dotages 
of judicial Astrology. But whether giving to each of 
their Gods a Star over which to preside was the cause 
or effect of this folly, may be disputed ; because, I be 
lieve, it was sometimes one, and sometimes the other. 
Yet it gave frequent occasion to call an extraordinary 
person the son of that God or Goddess under whose 
planet he was bom. 

Thus have I endeavoured to discover and lay open 
the true causes of all that confusion which goes under 
the name of the History of the heroic ages. Those false 
facts, therefore, and the mistaken conclusion drawn from 
them by Sir Isaac Newton to support the identity of 
Osiris and Sesostris, being detected, general tradition, 
which vouches for their real diversity, is reinstated in 



3K cii rgWHOtlcc. yAatpfpa* m? rtp^ow*lo. JA. ]9. VCF. 731. 

c* ?j ya^ n^evoj iVj 7v0A?j. o^. ^. var, 231. 



its credit : whose testimony likewise, as I have gone 
along, I have not neglected occasionally to support by 
divers corroborating circumstances. 

I might indeed have taken a very different route through 
this Land of Fables, to the confutation of his hypothesis; 
by opposing adventure to adventure, and genealogy to 
genealogy j and have formed upon them, as others have 
done before me, a system of chronology directly opposite 
to our illustrious Author s. But this, instead of relieving 
the reader, would only have put him in mind of the old 
man s complaint ; Incertior sum multo quant dudum. 
I have therefore attempted a way of greater certainty, 
in an explanation of the general principles and practices 
of ancient Superstition ; of which, their mythologic his 
tory was the fruits : And by this it appears that all 
these pretended Facts, on which Sir Isaac Newton sup 
ports his hypothesis of the identity of OSIRIS and SESOS- 
TRIS, are mere Fables, invented to confound all times 
and aeras, and therefore most unhappily chosen for one 
of the means of regulating and reforming the ancient 


But although I could have given no reasonable ac 
count of these mistaken facts, from which Sir Isaac 
Newton infers the identity, I was still able to prove the 
falsehood of that supposed identity, by the consequences 
that follow from it : not only by those which our great 
Author would not, but by those which he would, ven 
ture to admit. Both of which directly contradict SCRIP 
TURE and the NATURE OF THINGS. So that, as before 
I proved the error of his conclusion from the falsehood of 
his premisses ; I now begin at the other end, and shall 
prove the falsehood of his premisses from the error of his 

I. I have, in the third and fourth sections of this book, 
shewn at large, from sacred Scripture, illustrated and 
confirmed by profane Antiquity, that Egypt was a polite 
and powerful Empire at the egression of the Israelites. 
This is alone sufficient to overthrow Sir Isaac Newton s 
whole system. But to make the truth still more evident, 
it may be proper to take a particular, though short, view 
of the necessary consequences which follow from the sup 


posed identify of Osiris and Sesostris. These may be 
divided into two parts ; such as our great author hath 
ventured to own ; and such as, for their apparent falsehood, 
he was obliged to pass over in silence. 

To begin with the latter. Those very historic? on 
which Sir Isaac builds his identity, tell us that Osiris 
and his wife and sister I sis were the professed patron 
and patroness of nascent arts, the very instruments of 
husbandry being invented in their time; that he first 
taught the culture of the vine * ; and abolished the bad 
habit, his savage Subjects had of eating one another -j- : 
and that she taught them to sow corn j ; and gave them 
their first system of laws ||. ( But if Osiris were Sesostris, 
all these fine discoveries were made but two generations 
before the Trojan war, and full five hundred "years after 
the egression of the Israelites from Egypt : And then 
what are we to think of the Bible ? But the gross absur 
dity of these things hindered our Author from receiving 
them into the consequences of his new system : yet these 
standing on the same authority with the consequences, 
he hath thought fit to receive, he was obliged to pass 
them over in silence. But though he be silent, we 
should not. On the contrary, we must insist that he 
hath transgressed the plainest rules of fair reasoning, 
which required him, either to receive the consequences 
he hath rejected, or to reject those which he hath re 
ceived ; or lastly, to shew, that they stand upon a dif 
ferent authority. But he will do nothing of this; he 
picks and chuses as he likes best, and, what is not for 
his purpose, he leaves without notice, Diodorus says, 
that Osiris abolished the custom of human sacrifices ; 

* Evgtlyv o avrov ytvso-Qoti $0.0-} rt<; a/XTreAa nztfi T\v "Nvcrcty, x) TJJ> 
ff yata totv T rctvTv)*; xa^wS GJpQcrsTrivovGocvlat, IXQUTQV vlvw ypvicra.fT^on t 
oi$a,%cti Tt>q aM$ >0o;7r#? -njv re QvlticLv TJ? ctWws Ay, x rv) a-iv rS 

TW 0VJXfuf*)l O.VTV XJ T^VlfflV. Dlod. SlC. 1. 1. p. 1O. 

f Tlgurov /xev yap vrxvo-cci T?? cc^Yi^o^a-yia^ TO TUV KV^U 
Id. p. 9.^ 

J Ey^scrj? *I<7kc!&> TQV re T orf^S x^ 7^5 xp9^? xapTrov, (tyvciusvcv 
plv uq trvxf y.d\a. ryv xufotv pela rr>s ahhvtq fioloLvw, ayyoa/Aevov $i VTTO ru 
avvguTTuv) ra at Ocripio^- t<rtwvfiaa,p.iv& rviv rxr&v Kotle^yctcrluv ruv KOCCTTUV. 
Id. ib. 

j| tkva.i $e QOHTI KJ vopvq T^v^Icriv, xaO a? aMijAoK h^ovcci r? oiy^^uTfaq 
TO &IX.6UOV x^ T>j? aSt^w /3i? xj L ^EWJ Tsr^crO, ^ TQV sine T?? ripu- 

ffois $ciot. Id. ib. 

VOL. IV. S that 


that he built the city of Thebes ; that he regulated the 
worship of the Gods; and conquered many nations. 
These things Sir Isaac, who takes Osiris for Sesostris, 
readily admits. The same historian " says, that this 
Osiris first cultivated the vine ; restrained his Subjects 
from eating one another; and found out the arts of life; 
that his wife Isis invented agriculture, and gave the first 
law to the Egyptians ; but all this, Sir Isaac tacitly re 
jects. Yet if one part of the Sicilian s account be of 
better authority than the rest, it is that, which says, 
Isis invented agriculture : for he expressly tells us, that 
so it was found written on a large column, in hierogly 
phic characters, half consumed by time, then standing 
in the city of Nysa in Arabia * : and, without his telling, 
we are well assured, that her mysteries had very early 
brought the knowledge of the fact to all the neighbouring 

II. Amongst the consequences which the great Au 

thor hath thought fit to admit; some are these, That 

instruments of war ; horses far military service ; animal 

food-, the exact distribution of property, alphabetic 

* letters , and the well-peopling of Egypt , were all the 

product of the Sesostrian age. 

i. Vulcan, he says, who lived even to the times of 
the Trojan war, invented Armour, and was, on that 
account, deified by the Egyptians. His words are these, 
He [Vulcan] reigned there [in Cyprus and Byblus] till 
a very great age, living to the times of the Trojan war, 
and becoming exceeding rich And for assisting the 
Egyptians with armour, it is probable, that he was dei 
fied by his friends the Egyptians, by the name of Baal- 
"Canaan or Vulcan : for Vulcan was celebrated princi 
pally by the Egyptians, and was a king, according to 
Homer, and reigned in Lemnos; and Cinyras was an 
inventor of arts, and found out copper in Cyprus, and 
the smith s hammer, and anvil, and tongs and laver ; 
and employed workmen in making armour, and other 
things of brass and iron, and was the only king cele 
brated in 1 list or y for working in metals, and was king 

sp w hura-a. -nraajj? %w^a; yv spi ywn x 

Eyw tfyu n >&(>uTn xapwcv v9pw9ro<$ tvfiffot,. io. 
Sic. 1. i. p. 16. 



of Lemnos, and the husband of Venus ; all which are the 
characters of Vulcan: and the Egyptians about the 
time of the death of Cinyras, viz. in the reign of their 
king Amenophis, built a very sumptuous temple at Mem 
phis to Vulcan, pp. 223 225. Here we have a Hero, 
living till the time of the Trojan war, not only the in 
ventor of arms, but likewise of the very tools employed 
in making them. That this was our Author s meaning, 
is plain from what he tells us of the Egyptians fighting 
with clubs in the time of Sesostris (p. 21 5); which cer 
tainly was for want of better weapons : and still plainer, 
from what he tells of Vulcan s being made a God ; which, 
certainly, was for a NEW INVENTION. If I should 
now shew, by a formal enumeration of particulars, how 
all here said, contradicts the BIBLE, the reader would 
think me disposed to trifle with him. Instead of this, 
I shall but just observe, how ill it agrees with HOMER: 
who seems, indeed, to make Vulcan the Patron-God of 
the Armourers, but, at the same time, makes both him, 
and the invention, the product of a much earlier age. 
From the poem of the Trojan war it appears that mili- 
litary weapons had been then of tried use ; and Vulcan, 
and his wife Venus, Deities of long standing. Nor can it 
be objected that the poet hath here given us the picture 
of his own times. He was a stricter observer of deco 
rum : as may be seen amongst other instances, from a 
celebrated one taken notice of by the critics, that though, 
in his days, Cavalry were common, yet he brings none 
to the siege of Troy, because those times had not yet 
learnt their use. Nor was he less knowing than exact ; 
for he was possessed of the songs and poems of his an 
cestors; in which he found all the particulars of that 
famous expedition *. Now, if military weapons, at the 
time of the Trojan war, had been long in use amongst 
the Greeks, it is hardly possible they should have been 
just invented in Egypt. 

2. Our author makes Sesostris s conquest of Libya 

the occasion of furnishing Egypt with Horses. After 

the conquest of Libya (says he) by which Egypt was 

furnished with horses, and furnished Solomon and his 

friends, he prepared a fleet, &c. p. 215. The illus- 

* See note [HIIIIH] at the end of this Book. 

s 2 trious 


trious Writer is here speaking of the original of those 
civil advantages, for which ancient Egypt was so much 
celebrated. He had before, and afterwards, told us his 
thoughts of their astronomy, navigation, letters, names y 
and weapons of war. We cannot therefore but under 
stand what he here says, of the Libyan horses, to mean, 
that the conquest of that country was the first occasion 
of Egypt s abounding in Horse. But this directly con 
tradicts holy Scripture, which assures us that they 
abounded in Horse long before. Their pursuit of the 
Israelites is thus described, And Pharaoh made ready 
his chariot, and took his people with him. And he took 
six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of 
Egypt, and captains over every one of them. The 
Egyptians pursued after them (all the horses and cha 
riots of Pharaoh and his horsemen and his army.) 
And the Egyptians pursued after them to the midst of 
the sea, even all Pharaolis horses, his chariots and his 
horsemen*. Sir Isaac (p. 167.) seems to have been 
aware of this evidence against him, and endeavours to 
turn it on the side of his hypothesis. In the days of 
MOSES (says he) all t lie chariots of Egypt, with which 
Pharaoh pursued Israel, WERE BUT six HUNDRED. 
Exod. xiv. 7. This is a strange mistake. The sir hun 
dred, mentioned in the place quoted, are expressly said 
to be the chosen chariots, that is, the king s guard ; for 
over and above these, all the chariots of Egypt, an in 
definite number, were in the pursuit. Besides, the 
number of horses is not to be estimated from the cha 
riots, because there was an army of horsemen likewise in 
this expedition. 

However, by Sir Isaac s own confession, it appears 
that Egypt abounded with Horse much earlier than the 
time he here assigns. For the vast number of Philistim 
Horse brought into the field, in the second year of the 
reign of Saul, in an army consisting of thirty thousand 
chariots and six thousand horsemen, came all, in our 
author s opinion, from Egypt. The Canaanites (says 
he) had their Horses from Egypt ; and from the great 
army of the Philistims against Saul y and the great 
number of their Horses, I seem to gather that the 
* Exod, xiv. 6, 7 9 23. 



shepherds had newly relinquished Egypt, and joined 
them. p. 167. Now if they had such plenty of horse 
in the time of Saul, how was it that they were first fur 
nished from Libya in the time of Sesac ? 

But another circumstance in sacred History will shew 
us, that Egypt, which supplied Canaan, abounded in 
Horse still much earlier. In the law of Moses, we find 
this prohibition, personally directed to their future 
King : he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause 
the people to return to EGYPT, TO THE END THAT HE 
SHOULD MULTIPLY HORSES : forasmuch as the Lord 
hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more 
that way*. Now the reason, here given, being to pre 
vent all commerce with Egypt, we must conclude, if it 
appear that Egypt, at this time, supplied other nations 
with horses, that the law extended to their Judges as 
well as Kings. But they did supply other nations. Eor 
we find the confederate Canaanites (who, by Sir Isaac s 
confession, had their horses from Egypt) warring against 
Joshua, they and all their hosts with them, much people, 
even as the sand that is upon the sea- shore in multitude, 
with Horses and chariots very many t- The law there 
fore did certainly respect the Judges. And the rea 
soning is confirmed by fact. For Joshua, when he had 
defeated these confederate hosts, houghed their Horses 
and burnt their chariots with Jire j, according to the 
commandment of the Lord : observing it in the same ri 
gorous manner in which it was obeyed by their Kings, 
to whom the law was personally addressed : For thus 
Ahab destroyed the horses and chariots of Benhadad |j. 
So that I now conclude the other way from this Law, 
that a general traffic with Egypt for Horses was very 
common in the times of Moses and Joshua. Conse 
quently Egypt was not furnished with Horses from 
Libya in the time of Sir Isaac Newton s Sesostris. 

But it may give strength to this argument, as well as 
light to the sacred Text, to inquire more particularly into 
the reasons of this PROHIBITION; which we shall find 
so weighty and various as to appear worthy of its Au 
thor, and accommodated only to a Law of divine ori 

* Deut. xvii. 16. f Jos. xi. 4. 

J Jos. xi, 9. H i Kings xx, 21. 

S3 i. The 


i. The first reason (which was expressly delivered 
with the Law) is, properly, RELIGIOUS. He [the King], 
says the Law, shall not multiply Horses to himself, nor 
cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he 
should multiply Horses: forasmuch as the Lord hath said 
unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way ; 
i. e. He should not establish a body of Cavalry, because 
this could not be effected without sending into Egypt, 
with which people the Lord had forbidden any commu 
nication, as, of all foreign commerce, that was the most 
dangerous to true Religion*. 

When Solomon had violated this Law, and multiplied 
Horses to such excess that, we are told, he had forty 
thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, ami twelve 
thousand Horsemen f, it was soon attended with those 
fatal consequences which the Law had foretold. For 
this wisest of Kings having likewise, in violation of 
another Law of Moses, married Pharaoh s daughter J, 
(the early traits of this commerce) and then, by a repe 
tition of the same crime, but a transgression of another 
law, had espoused more strange women \\ ; they first of 
all, in defiance of a fourth Law, persuaded him to build 
them idol Temples for their use ; and afterwards, against 
a fifth Law, still more fundamental, brought him to 
erect ctlier Temples for his own f" . Now the original 
of all this mischief was the forbidden traffic with Egypt 
for Horses : For thither, we are told, the agents of So 
lomon were sent to mount his Cavalry. And Solomon 
gathered chariots and horsemen : and he had a thousand 
and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horse^ 
men, which he placed in the chariot-cities, and with the 
king at Jerusalem And he had Horses brought out of 
Egypt, and linen-yarn: the kings merchants received 
the lintn-yarn at a price. And they fetcht up and 
brought forth out of Egypt a chariot for six hundred 
shekels of silver, and an Horse for an hundred and 
ffty**. Nay, this great King even turned factor for 
tf)e neighbouring monarchs. And so brought they out 
Horses for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the 

* See the next section. t i Kings iv. 26. J Ib. iii. i. 
j| i Kings xi. i. ^ Ib, xi. 7, 8, * 

** 2 Chron. i, 16, 17. 



kings of Syria by their means*. This opprobrious 
commerce was kept up by his Successors ; and attended 
with the same pernicious consequences. Isaiah, with 
his usual majesty, denounces the mischiefs of this traffic ; 
and foretels that one of the good effects of leaving it, 
would be the forsaking their idolatries. Wo to them 
that go down to Egypt for help, and stay on HORSES, 
and trust in chariots, because they are many, and in 
HORSEMEN, because they are very strong: but they 
look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the 
Lord. For thus hath the Lord spoken unto me, Like 
as the lion, and the young lion roaring on his prey, 
when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against 
him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase him 
self for the noise of them: so shall the Lord of Hosts 
come down to Jig ht for mount Zion, and for the hill 
thereof- Turn ye unto him from whom the children of 
Israel have deeply revolted. For in that day every man 
shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, 
which your own hands have made unto you for a sin f. 

2. The second reason against multiplying Horses I 
take to have been properly POLITICAL. The Israelites, 
separated by GOD for his peculiar People, under his go 
vernment as King, must needs have been designed for 
the proprietors of one certain country. Accordingly the 
land of Canaan, the possession of the seven nations, 
was marked out for their proper inheritance. Within these 
limits they were to be confined; it being foreign to the 
nature of their Institution to make conquests, or to ex 
tend their dominion. But the expulsion of the seven 
nations being, as we shall see presently, to be effected 
by the extraordinary assistance of their KING, JEHO 
VAH, their successes must, of course, be full and rapid. 
But nothing is so impatient of bounds as a Multitude 
flesht with easy victories r the projects of such a people 
are always going on from conquest to conquest; as ap 
pears from the Mahometan Arabs, under the same cir 
cumstances, led out to conquest by a false Prophet, as 
the Israelites by a true. Now to defeat this so natural 
a disposition, in a nation not designed for Empire, a 
Law is given against MULTIPLYING HORSES; than 

* 2 Chron. i. 17. f * s> x *xi. i4 6? 7- 

s 4 which 


which nothing can be conceived more effectual. The 
Country that confined them, was rocky and mountain 
ous, and therefore unfit for the breed and sustxntation 
of horse. Telemadius is common- ed for giving this 
reason for refusing the horses of Menelaus : 

Hand male Telemachus, proles patient is Ullvei ; 
Non est aptus equis Ithaca locus, ut necjue plants 
Porrectus spat Us, nee multa piodigus herbct *. 

Besides, when they had once gotten possession of these 
mountains, they had little need of horse to preserve their 
conquest ; as all skilled in military matters VCT well 
understand | . The Israelites therefore, had thev ixv,i 
either wise or pious, would soon have found that their 
true strength, as well political as religious, lay in in 
fantry : As that of Egypt, for a contrary reason, was in 
their Cavalry. Hence that people, who well under 
stood their advantages, so industriously propagated the 
breed of Horses, as the surest defence of their ten ito- 
ries. There is a remarkable passage, in the history of 
these times, to support what I here advance. When 
Benhadad, the gentile king of b\r)a, whose forces con 
sisted of chariots and horsemen, had warred with ill 
success against the king of Israel, the Ministers, in a 
council of war, delivered their advice to him in these 
terms : Their Gods are Gods of the HILLS, therefore 
they were stronger than we: but let us fight against 
them in the PLAIN, and surely we shall be stronger 
than they. And he hearkened unto their voice, and did 
so J. From this passage I collect, i. That the army of 
Israel, consisting all of Infantry, had chosen the situa 
tion of the hills; and this with proper military skill. 
2. That their constant success in such a disposition of 
their forces occasioned this advice of the Ministers of 
Benhadad. These men, possessed with the general no 
tion of local tutelary Deities, finding the arms of Israel 
always successful on the hills, took it for the more emi 
nent manifestation of the power of their Gods. Their 
Gods, say they, are Gods of the hills. Their supersti 
tion dictated the first part of their advice ; and their 

* Hor. f See note [IIII] at the end of this Book. 

J i Kings xx. 23, seq, 



skill in war, the second, kt m fight against ttrm in 
the plain. The operations of the war had been hitherto 
most absurd : they had attacked an army of Infantry 
with one of Cavalry, on hills and in defiles. 

But this want of Horse (which kind of military force 
neither the product of their country could well support, 
nor the defence of it needj would effectually prevent any 
attempt of extending their dominions either into the Lesser 
Asia, Mesopotamia, or Egypt. All which neighbouring 
countries being stretched out into large and extended 
plains, could not be safely invaded without a numerous 
Cavalry. In this view, therefore, the wisdom of the 
Law can never be sufficiently admired. 

3. But the third reason of the prohibition was evi 
dently to afford a lasting MANIFESTATION OF THAT 
EXTRAORDINARY PROVIDENCE by which the Israelites 
were conducted, in taking possession of the land of 
Canaan. I have shewn that, when once settled, they 
ihipht very well defend the possession without the help 
of Cavalry: But to conquer it without Cavalry, arid 
from a warlike people abounding in Horse, was more 
than a raw unpractised Infantry could ever have per 
formed alone. No more need be said to convince mili 
tary men of the extreme difference of the two cases. To 
others it may be proper to observe, 

i. That in the invasion ot a country, the invaded may 
chuse their ground; and as it is their interest to avoid 
coming to a decisive action, so, being amidst their own 
native stores and provisions, they have it in their power 
to decline ic. On the contrary, the invader must attack 
his enemies wherever he finds them posted. For, by 
reason of the scantiness and uncertainty of supplies in an 
enemy s country, he has not, for the most part, time to 
draw them, by military stratagems, from their advan 
tages. We find this verified in the history of Benhadad, 
mentioned above. He had invaded Israel; but this 
.people disposing of their Infantry with soldier-like ad 
dress, he \vas forced to fight them on the hills, where 
only they were to be met with. After many unsuccess 
ful engagements, his Ministers proposed a new plan of 
operation; to attack the enemy in the plains. And 
truly the advice was good : but how to put it in execu 


tion vas the question ; for they being the assailants, the 
Israelites were masters of their ground. So that, after 
all, there was no other way of bringing them into the 
plains bui by beating them from the hills. And there 
they mus; have stuck, till famine and desertion had 
ended the quarrel. In this exigence, their blasphemy 
against the God of Israel enabled them to put their 
counsels, against him, in execution. They fancied, 
according to the superstition of that time, and so gave 
out, that he was God of the hills, but not of the valleys. 
His omnipotence being thus disputed, He placed his 
people in the plains ; and sent his Prophet to predict the 
coming vengeance on his enemies. And there came a 
man of GOD, and spake unto the king of Israel, and 
said, Thus saith the Lord, Because the Syrians have 
said, the Lord is God of the hills, but he is not God of 
the valleys ; therefore will I deliver all this great mul 
titude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the 

2. Secondly, we may observe, that the possessors of 
mountainous regions may so dispose their Fortresses, 
with which they cover their country, as to make an in 
vader s Cavalry absolutely useless , and consequently to 
have no occasion for any of their own. But the inva 
ders of such a place where Cavalry is in use, and conse 
quently the defences disposed in a contrary manner, so 
as best to favour the operations of Horse, the invaders, 
I say, go to certain destruction without a body of Horse 
to support their Infantry. This then being the very si 
tuation of affairs when the Israelites invaded Canaan, 
and conquered it, (for till then they had not begun to 
transgress the Law against Cavalry) I conclude that they 
must have been MIRACULOUSLY assisted. The Ara 
bians, in a like expedition, thought it so extraordinary 
a thing to conquer without Horse, that Mahomet made 
it a law, when this happened, for the spoils not to be 
divided according to the stated rule, but for all to go to 
the Prophet himself, as a deodand or a gift from God 
alone -f. Yet Mahomet never pretended to make his 


* i Kings xx. 28. 

f Lt id, quod cuncessit in pradam Dcus kgato suo ex iliis : Non 
mpulistis super iliud ullos equus, neque camtlos [i. e. non acquisistis 



conquests without Horse, but used them on every occa 
sion of need. 

To return, we see then how little reason Sir Isaac 
Newton had for saying that Sesostris s conquest of 
Libya was the occasion of Egypt s being furnished with 
horse, so as to supply the neighbouring countries. But 
the instance was particularly ill chosen: for Sesostris, 
whom he makes the author of this benefit to Egypt, did, 
by his filling the country with canals, defeat the chief 
use and service of Cavalry ; with which, till this time, 
Egypt had abounded; but which from henceforth we 
hear no more of*. 

3. Again, in consequence of the same system, our 
great author seems to think that animal food was not 
customary amongst the Egyptians till about this time. 
The Egyptians (says he) originally lived on the fruits of 
the earth, and fared hardly, and abstained from ani 
mals, and THEREFORE abominated shepherds: Menes 
[the third from Sesostris] taught them to adorn their beds 
and tables with rich furniture and carpets, and brought 
in amongst them a sumptuous, delicious, and voluptuous 
way of life. p. 24 1 . Now, whoever brought in the eating 
of flesh, and a voluptuous life, did it (as we are assured 
from Scripture) before the time of Joseph. I have 
proved; in my account of their Physicians as delivered 
in the Bible, that they were then a luxurious people f- 
From the dream of Pharaoh s baker, compared with 
Joseph s interpretation J, it appears, they eat animal 


illud ope equornm aut camelorum] ; sed Deus prawalere facit legatos 
suos, super quern vult : nam Deus est super omnem rem potens. Sur. 
59. Alcor. ver. 6. 

* Norijcra? $\ o *Lf<7urpi<; I? ryv A lywnrlov, xj T? Siupv^cu; rat; vvv 
Itfcra? Iv Alyvvrly, -ara<7a? arot ava/xa^o^sm u^vaeov ITTOJEO* re vx Ixoflsq 
A tyvtflov, royr^lv Icrav \Tf!ta,ui^v, x.) Kpa^tvopirfiv woiffciv, ivSioi r&ruv* 

yiyovi. Herod. Hist. lib. iii. cap. 108. 

f See p. 95, and following, of this volume. 

I " And the chief baker said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, 
" and behold I had three white baskets on my head, and in the upper- 
" most basket there was of all manner ofBAKE-MEATs for Pharaoh, 
" and the birds did eat them out of the basket. And Joseph an- 
" swered and said The three baskets are three days. Yet within 
" three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall 
" hang thee on a tree ; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee." 
Gen. xL J 7, & se(j. 


food ; and, from the story of Joseph s entertainment of 
his brethren, it appears, that* their enmity to shepherds 
was not occasioned by these Hebrews eating animal food, 
which, Sir Isaac says, the Egyptians abstained from. 
And he said to the rider of his house, Bring these men 
home, ami SLAY, and make ready : for these men shall 
dim with me at noon. And the man did as Joseph bade: 
and the man brought the men into Joseph s house and 
they set on for him by himself, and for them by them 
selves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, 
by themselves, because the Egyptians might not eat 
bread with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to 
the Egyptians. And he took and sent messes unto them 
from before him*. Here, we see the common provision 
for their entertainment was animal food. And no one 
can doubt whether Joseph conformed to the Egyptian 
diet. He sat single out of state, with regard to the 
Egyptians ; the Egyptians sat apart, with regard to the 
Shepherds; and Both were supplied from the Gover 
nor s table, which was furnished from the Steward s 
slaughter-house. The truth of this is farther seen from 
the murmuring of the Israelites in the wilderness, when 
they said, Would to God we had died by the hand of the 
Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the FLESH- 
POTS, and when we did eat bread to the full f. ^ Now 
we can scarce suppose the Egyptians would permit their 
slaves, whom they kept in so hard oppression, to riot 
in flesh-pots, while, as Sir Isaac supposes, they them 
selves fared hardly and abstained from Animals. 

4. Again, he supposes, that the exact division of the 
land of Egypt into Property was first made in the time 
of Sesostris. Sesostris (says he) upon his returning 
home, divided Egypt by measure amongst the Egyp 
tians ; and this gave a beginning to surveying and geo 
metry. p. 218. And in another place, he brings down 
the paginal of geometry still lower; even as late as 
fifth from Sesostris. Marts (says he)-/or 

prewvftg the division of Egypt into equal shares 
amongst **$ soldiers wrote a book of surveying, which 
gave a begiiming to geometry, p. 248. Let the reader 
now consider, Whether it be possible to reconcile this 

* Gen. xliii. 16, 173234. t Exod.xvi. 3- 



with the following account of Joseph s administration. 
And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh ; 
for the Egyptians sold EVERY MAN HIS FIELD, because 
the famine prevailed over them : so the lynd became Pha 
raoh s. And as for the people, he removed them to 
cities from one end of the borders of Egypt, even to the 
other end thereof. Only the land of the Priests bought 
he not ; for the Priests had a portion assigned them of 
Pharaoh^ and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave 
them ; therefore they sold not their lands. Then Jo 
seph said unto the people, Behold I have bought you 
this day, and your land for Pharaoh : lo here is the seed 
for you, and ye shall sow the land. And it shall come 
to pass, in ihe increase, that you shall give the jijth 
part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your ozvn, 
for seed of the field, and for your food and for them of 
your own housholds, and for food for your little ones. 
And Joseph made it a iaiv over the land of Egypt unto 
this day, that Pharaoh should have the Jifth part ; ex 
cept the land of the Priests only, which became not 
Pharaolis *. Here we have the description of a coun 
try very exactly set out and settled in private property. 
It would afford room for variety of reflections : I shall 
confine myself to the following. If private property had 
not been, at this time, established with the utmost order 
and exactness ; what occasion had Joseph to recur to 
that troublesome expedient of transplanting the People, 
reciprocally, from one end of Egypt to the other ? His 
purpose in it is evident : it was to secure Pharajh in his 
new property, by defeating the ill effects of that fond 
ness which people naturally have to an old paternal in 
heritance. But what fondness have men for one spot, 
rather than another, of lands lying in common, or but 
newly appropriated? Were the Egyptians at this time, 
as Sir Isaac Newton seems to suppose, in the state of 
the unsettled Nomades, they would have gone from one 
end of Egypt to the other, without Joseph s sending ; and 
without the least regret for any thing they had left behind. 
But without weakening the great man s conjecture by 
Scripture-history, How does it appear from the simple 
fact of Sesostris s dividing the large champaign country 

* Gen. xlvii, 20, & seq. 



of Egypt into square fields, by cross-cut canals, that 
tLis was a dividing Egypt by measure, and giving a be 
ginning to surveying and geometry? If we examine 
the cause and the effects of that improvement, we shall 
find that neither one nor the other part of his conclu 
sion can be deduced from it. The cause of makin* 
these canals was evidently to drain the swampy marshes 
of that vast extended level ; and to render the whole 
labourable*. But a work of this kind is never 
projected till a people begin to want room. And they 
never want room till private property hath been well 
established; and the necessaries of life, by the ad 
vancement of civil arts, are become greatly increased. 
As to the effects; Ground, once divided by such boun 
daries, was in no danger of a change of land-marks ; 
and consequently had small occasion for future surveys! 
So that had not the Egyptians found out geometry be 
fore this new division, tis probable they had never 
found it out at all. The most likely cause, therefore, to 
be assigned for this invention, was the necessity of fre 
quent surveys, while the annual overflowings of the Nile 
were always obliterating such land-marks as were not, 
like those cross-cut canals, wrought deep into the soil. 
But these put a total end to that inconvenience. In 
deed, Herodotus seems to give it as his opinion, that 
geometry had its rise from this improvement of Sesos- 
tris 1\ But we are to remember what hath been said of 
the incredible Antiquity which the ancient Greek 
writers, and particularly Aristotle J, assigned to this 
Hero : the natural consequence of the Egyptian s havino* 
confounded the ages and actions, though never the per^ 
sons, of Osiris and Sesostris. 

5. The next inference this illustrious Writer makes 
from his system is, that letters were unknown in Egypt 
till the time of David. JVhen the Edomites (says he) 
fled from David with their young king Aadad into 
Egypt, it is probable that they carried thither also the 
use of letters : for letters were then in use amongst the 
posterity of Abraham -and there is no instance of let- 

* See note [KKKK] at the end of this Book. 

t Aoxtot & poi bOivrey vtopftfa svpfarcret, I? T qy EM&* iwetvfrQw. 
Jlerodot. 1, n, c, 109. f S?e p. 228. 



ters, for writing down sounds, being in use before the 
days of David in any other nation besides the posterity 
of Abraham. The Egyptians ascribed this invention to 
Thoth the secretary of Osiris ; and therefore letters be- 
gan to be in use in Egypt in the days of Thoth, that 
is, a little after the flight of the Edomites from David* 
or about the time that Cadmus brought them into Eu 
rope, p. 209. It appears from the two stone-tables of 
the Law, and from the engravings on Aaron s breast- 

O o 

plate, that letters were in common use amongst the 
Israelites at the time of their egression from Egypt. 
Now supposing alphabetic writing to be amongst the pe 
culiar advantages of the chosen people, was it not more 
likely that the Egyptians should learn it of them during 
their long abode in that country, than from the fugi 
tive Edomites, if they had indeed carried thither (which 
however is a mere conjecture) the use of letters ? But 
when we consider that alphabetic writing was introduced 
amongst the chosen .people some time between the age 
of Jacob and that of Moses, it seems most probable that 
they learnt it of the Egyptians. But, for a full confuta 
tion of this fancy, and of the arguments that support it, 
I am content to refer the reader to what I have occa 
sionally observed, though to other purposes, in my dis 
course of the Egyptian hieroglyphics *. 

6. Lastly, he observes, that Egypt was so thinly 
peopled before the birth of Moses, that Pharaoh said 
of the Israelites, " Behold the people of the children of 
" Israel are more and mightier than we:" and that to 
prevent their multiplying, and growing too strong, lit 
caused their male children to be drowned, p. 186. Yet 
this country, so thinly peopled at the birth of Moses, 
was, we find from Scripture, so vastly populous, by the 
time Moses was sent upon his mission, that it could keep 
in slavery six hundred thousand men besides children f ; 
at a time, when they were most powerfully instigated to 
recover their liberty ; which yet, after all, they were unable 
to effect but by the frequent desolation of the hand of GOD- 
upon their insolent and cruel masters. And is this to 
be reconciled with Sir Isaac s notion of their preceding 
thinness? But he likewise supports himself on Scripture, 
* See p. 116. & seq. t Exod. xij, 37. 



Egypt was so thinly peopled that Pharaoh said 
Behold the people of the children of Israel are more and 
mightier than we. Strange interpretation ! The Scrip 
ture relation of the matter is in these -words ; And Pha 
raoh said unto his people, Behold the people of the chil 
dren of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come 
on, let us deal wisely with them : lest they multiply, and 
it come to pass, that when there falleth out any war, 
they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and 
so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set 
over them Taskmasters, to afflict them with their bur 
dens. But the more they afflicted them, the more they 
grew and multiplied*. By the whole tarn of this re 
lation it appears, that the more and mightier signify only 
more prolific and healthy. And that was in truth the 
case. The Egyptians of this time, as we have shewn (, 
were very luxurious : While the manners of the Israe 
lites concurred with their condition to render them hardy 
and fruitful, by an abstemious and laborious course of 
life. On this account the king expresses his fear. But 
of what ? certainly not that they should subdue their 
masters ; but that they should escape out of bondage : 
which, even to the very moment of their egression, was 
the sole object of the Egyptian s fear. Lest (says he) 
they multiply ; and it come to pass, that, when there 
falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and 
jftght against us, and so GET THEM UP OUT OF THE 
LAND. This was a reasonable apprehension: for Egypt 
was in every age subject to the incursions of that fierce 
and barbarous people the Arabians, on that very side 
which the Israelites inhabited : who, possessing their 
own District, unmixed with Egyptians, had the keys of 
the country in their hands, to admit or exclude an in 
vader at their pleasure. A circumstance which would 
make the smallest province formidable to the most power 
ful kingdom. To prevent then so probable a danger, 
their taskmasters are ordered to increase their oppres 
sions ; and they groan under them without power to 
resist, till set free by the all-powerful hand of GOD. 

Thus we see how Sir Issac Newton s system stands 
with regard to SACRED ANTIQUITY. What is still 

* Exod. i. 9. & seq. f See p. 95. & seq. 



worse, is it not only repugnant to the Bible, but even to 


III. We have observed, that, by the casual con 
founding of the proper actions of Osiris and Sesostris 
with one another, each came to bc ; at the same time, 
the INVENTOR, and the PERFECTED of the arts of life. 
This, which might have led our Author, the most pene 
trating of all writers, to the discovery of the ancient error 
in their history, served only to confirm him in his own ; 
as placing the invention of civil arts low enough for the 
support of his general Chronology. However,^ it is very 
certain, that the making their invention and perfection 
the product of the same age is directly contrary to the 
very NATURE OF THINGS. Which if any one doubt, let 
him examine the general history of mankind ; where he 
will see that the advances, from an emerging barbarity, 
through civil policy, to refined arts and polished, manners, 
when not given them, ready fitted to their hands, by 
neighbouring nations forward to impart them, have been 
ever the slow and gradual progress of many and succes 
sive ages. Yet these, our illustrious Author (in conse 
quence of the supposed identity of his two Heroes) makes 
to spring up, to flourish, and to come to their perfection, 
all within the compass of one single reii?n. Or rather, 
which is still more intolerable, he makes this extraor 
dinary age of Sesostris to be distinguished from all others 
by an inseparable mixture of savage and polished manners. 
Which is so unnatural, so incredible, so impossible a Cir 
cumstance, that, were there only this to oppose against 
his system, it would be a sufficient demonstration of its 

To shew then, that Sir Isaac Newton, by fairly and 
honestly taking in these consequences of his system, hath 
indeed subjected it to this disgrace, I shall give two in 
stances. The one taken from his account of the state of 
War, the other of the state of Architecture, during this 

i. Our Author having made the Egyptian Hercules 
to be Sesostris, is forced to own that the war in Libya 
was carried on with clubs. After these things, he 
[Hercules or Sesostris] invaded Libya, and fought the 
Africans with clubs, and thence is painted with a club 

VOL. IV. T m 


in his hand. Here, the great Writer hath given us the 
very picture of the Iroquosian or Huron Savages warring 
with a neighbouring tribe. And without doubt intended 
it for such a representation ; as appears, first, from his 
immediately adding these words of Hyginus : Afrl 8$ 
JEgyptii PRIMUM fustihus dimicavenmt, postea Belus 
Ncptunifilius gladio bdligeratus est, unde bellum dictum 
est. p. 215. For we are to observe that the title of the 
chapter, in which these words are found, is, quis quid 
irwcnerit * : and secondly, from his supposing Vulcan 
(whom he makes to live at this time) the inventor of mi 
litary weapons. Yet this, according to the great Author, 
was after Sesostris s conquest of the Troglodytes and 
Ethiopians : it was after his Father s building a fleet on 
the Red sea, with which he coasted Arabia Felix, went 
into the Persian Gulf, and penetrated even into India : 
[pp.214, 215.] and but a little before Sesostris s great 
expedition for the conquest of the habitable world. At 
which time we see him set out with the most splendid 
retinue of a Court, and the most dreadful apparatus of 
War ; we find him defeat great armies ; subdue mighty 
kingdoms (amongst the rest Judaea, where all kind of 
military arms offensive and defensive had been in use for 
many ages) ; people large cities ; and leave behind him 
many stately monuments of his power and magnificence. 
2. Thus again, Sir Isaac tells us, that Tosorthrus or 
JEsculapius, an Egyptian of the time of Sesostris, dis 
covered the art of building with square stones f. Yet 
his contemporary, Sesostris, he tells us, divided Egypt 
into 36 nomes or counties, and dug a canal from the 
Nile, to the head city of every norm ; and with the earth 
dug out of it, he caused the ground of the city to be 
raised higher, and built a temple in every city for the 
worship of the nome; fyc. p. 218. And soon after, 
Amenophis, the third from him, built Memphis ; and 
ordered the worship of the Gods of Egypt \ and built 
a palace at Abydus, and the Memnonia at This and 
Susa, and the magnificent temple of Vulcan in Memphis J. 

* Fab. cclxxiv. 

-j- The building with square stones (says he) being found out by 
Tosorthrus, the ^sculapius of Egypt. Page 247. 
J. See note [LLLL] at the end of this Book. 



Now, in this odd mixture of barbarity and politeness, 
strength and impotence, riches and poverty, there is 
such an inconsistency in the character of ages, as shews 
it to be the mere invention of professed fabulists, whose 
known talent it is to 

: Make former limes shake hands with latter, 
" And that which was before come after;" 

though composed of tales so ill concerted, and contra 
dictory, as shews, they wrote upon no consistent plan, 
but each as his own temporary views and occasions re 

When I entered on a confutation of Sir Isaac Newton s 
Egyptian Chronology (for with that only I have here to 
do), I was willing for {he greater satisfaction of the 
reader to set his arguments for the identity of Osiris and 
Sesostris, on which that Chronology was founded, in 
the strongest and clearest light. On this account I took 
them as I found them collected, ranged in order, and 
set together in one view, with the greatest advantage of 
representation, by the very worthy and learned Master 
of the Charterhouse, in a professed apology for our 
great Philosopher. But this liberty the learned writer 
hath been pleased to criticise in the Latin edition * of 
the tracts to which that apology was prefixed " I am 
not ignorant (says he f) that the author of The Divine 

" Legation 

* De Deris amis D. JV. Jesu Christi natali $ emortuali Disser- 
tationes duce Chronologicce. 

t " Non nescimus nuperrime accidisse, ut Vir ingenio & eru- 
" ditione praestans, quum ratus sit ad dimnam legationcm Mosis 
" demonstrandum aliquo modo pertinere, ut probetur Osiris non esse 
;< idem cum Sesostri, omnia hue allata in lusum joeumrjue verterit, 
" instituta comparatione Arthur! illius fabulosi cum Wilhelmo Nor- 
!( manno, quos acque honis rationibus in unum hominsin conflari 
" posse ait (quamvis nihil fere habeant inter se commune uut simile) 
il ac nos Osirin cum Sesostri corifundimus. Et de hac re disputa- 
< tionem in 70 paginas et ultra producit. In qua tarnen hcec 
nostra de Sesostri neque negat, neque refellit, sed irridet. Alia 
:e vero quasdam Nevvtoni dicta de sero inventis ab aliquo rege artibus, 
tl armis, instrumentis oppugnat, et ea quidem parte CSM&& vincit! 
: Nam ut ista longe ante Sesostris aetatem apud ^Egyptios reperta 
" sint, Scriptura sacra jubet credere ; ab ullo iinquam regum inventa 
< esse haud ita certum. Sed ea prius non attigimus, ut qua3 jiihil 
<f ad propositum nostrum attinent, neque nunc nos movent, ut pcdem 

T 2 retraliamus 


" Legation supposing it, some how or other, to concern 
" Moses s divine mission, to prove that Osiris was not 
" the same with Sesostris, hath lately turned all that is 
" here said into ridicule, by a comparison made between 
" the fabulous ARTHUR and WILLIAM the Norman; 
" who, he says, may be made one by as good reasons 
" (though they have scarce any thing alike or in common 
" with one another) as those which we have brought to 
" confound Osiris with Sesostris : and on this point he 
" draws out a disputation through seventy pages and 
" upwards ; in which, however, he neither denies nor 
" confutes, but only laughs at what we have here said 
" of Sesostris. It is true indeed that some other of 
" Newton s assertions he does oppose ; such as those 
" concerning the late invention of arts, arms, and in- 
^ struments by some certain king; and in this part of 
" the argument he gets the better. For that these things 
" were found out by the Egyptians long before the age 
" of Sesostris, holy Writ commands us to believe : but 
" whether found out by any of their kings, is not so 
<c certain. However, these were matters we never 
" touched upon, as relating nothing to our purpose ; 
" nor do they yet induce us to recede from that con- 
" elusion of the" famous Newton, that Sesac was Se- 
<c sostris, Osiris, and Bacchus. But the cause being 
" now brought before the Public, let the learned deter- 
" mine of it." Thus far this candid and ingenuous 

He says, the author of The Divine Legation supposes 
that it some how or other concerns Moses s divine mission 
to prove Osiris not the same with Sesostris] which 
seems to imply that this learned person doth not see 
HOW it concerns it. And yet afterwards he owns, that 
Scripture (meaning the writings of Moses) will not allow 
us* to believe with Sir Isaac, that the invention of arts ^ 
arms, and instruments, was so late as the time of Se- 
soatris. Now it follows (as I have shewn) by certain 
consequence, that if Osiris and Sesostris were one and 
the same, then the invention of arts was as late as the 


" retrahamus ab ista Cl. Newtoni cemclusione Sesacum, Sesostrim, 
" Osirin et Bacchum fuisse. Lite jam contestata judicent eruditi. 
InDedic. pp. xii. xiii. 


time of Sesostris. But this contradicting Scripture or 
the writings of Moses, as the learned person himself con- 
fesseth, the reader sees plainly, HOW it concerns Moses* 
mission to prove Osiris not the same with Sesostris. 

The learned writer, speaking O f the comparison I had 
made between Arthur and William the Norman, says, 
they have scarce any thing alike or in common with one 
another. I had brought together thirteen circumstances 
(the very number which the learned writer thinks suf 
ficient to establish the identity of Osiris and Sesostris) 
in which they perfectly agree. I am persuaded he does 
not suspect me of falsifying their history. He must mean, 
therefore, that thirteen in my comparison, prove nothing, 
which, in his, prove every thing. 

He goes on, in a disputation of seventy pages and 
upwards, the author of The Divine Legation neither de 
nies nor confutes, but only laughs at what we have said 
of Sesostris. What is it the learned writer hath said of 
Sesostris ? Is it not this ? That between his history and 
that of Osiris there are many strokes of resemblance : 
From whence he infers (with Sir Isaac) that these two 
Heroes were one and the same. Now if he means, I 
have neither denied nor confuted this resemblance, he 
says true. I had no such design. It is too well marked 
by Antiquity to be denied. Neither, let me add, did 
I laugh at it. What I laughed at (if my bringing a si 
milar case is to be so called) was his inference from this 
resemblance, that therefore Osiris and Sesostris were 
one and the same. But then too I did more than laugh : 
I both denied .and confuted it. First I denied it, by 
shewing that this resemblance might really be, though 
Osiris and Sesostris were two different men, as appeared 
by an equal resemblance in the actions of two different 
men, the British Arthur and William the Norman. But 
as the general history of ancient Egypt would not suffer 
us to believe all that the Greek writers have said of this 
resemblance, I then explained the causes which occa 
sioned their mistaken accounts of the two persons, from 
whence so perfect a. resemblance had arisen. Secondly, 
I confuted what the learned person had said of Sesostris, 
by shewing, from the concurrent testimony of Antiquity, 
.and from several internal arguments deducible from mat 

T 3 testimony, 


testimony, that Osiris and Sesostris were in fact two 
different persons, living in two very distant ages. 

The learned writer proceeds, It is true indeed that 
some other of Navtoris assertions he does oppose ; such 
as those concerning the late invention of arts, arms^ and 
instruments ; and in this part of the argument he gets 
the better. But if I have the better here, it is past dis 
pute I overthrow the whole hypothesis of the identity of 
Osiris and Sesostris. For, as to the resemblance, 
which Antiquity hath given them, that, considered singly 
when the pretended late invention of arts hath been 
proved a mistake, will indeed deserve only to be laughed 
at. But were it, as Sir Isaac Newton endeavoured to 
prove, that the invention of arts was no earlier than the 
time of Sesostris or Sesac, there is then indeed an end 
of the ancient Osiris of Egypt; and the Hero, so much 
.boasted of by that people, can be no other than the Se 
sostris of this author. For the very foundation of the 
existence of the ancient Osiris was his civilizing Egypt, 
and teaching them the Arts of life : But if this were done 
by Sesostris, or in his reign, then is HE the true Osiris 
of Egypt. As, on the contrary, were the invention of 
arts as early as SCRIPTURE-HISTORY represents it, 
then is Egypt to be believed, when she tells us that 
Osiris, their Inventor of arts, was many ages earlier 
than Sesostris their Conqueror : And consequently, all 
Sir Isaac Newton s identity separates and falls to pieces. 
In a word, take it which way you will, If Osiris were 
the same as Sesostris, then must the invention of Arts 
(for all Antiquity have concurred in giving that invention 
to Osiris) be as late as the age of Sesostris, the Sesac 
of Newton : but this, SCRIPTURE-HISTORY will not 
suffer us to believe. If, on the other hand, Osiris and 
Sesostris were - not the same, then was the invention of 
Arts (and for the same reason) much earlier than the 
age of Sesostris ; as indeed all mankind thought before 
the construction of this new Chronology. These were 
the considerations which induced that Great man, who 
so well understood the nature and force of evidence, to 
employ all the sagacity of his wonderful talents in proving 
the invention of Arts to be about the age of his Sesostris 
or Sesac. And is it possible he shoutd have a follower 



who cannot see that he hath done this ? or the necessity 
he had of doing it ? It will be said, perhaps, " that Sir 
Isaac has, indeed, argued much for the low invention of 
Arts : but had neither inforced it under the name of an 
argument, nor stated it in the form here represented." 
The objection would ill become a follower of Newton, 
who knows that his Master s method, as well in these 
his critical as in his physical inqniries, was to form the 
principal members of his demonstration with an unorna- 
mented brevity, and leave the supplial of the small con 
necting parts to his reader s sagacity. Besides, in so 
obvious, so capital, so necessary an argument for this 
identity, it had been a ridiculous distrust of common 
sense, after he had spent so much pains in endeavouring 
to prove the low invention of Arts, to have ended his 
reasoning in this formal way : " And now, Header, take 
notice that this is a conclusive, and perhaps the only 
conclusive argument for the identity of Osiris and Sesos- 
tris." Lastly, let me observe,^that the very reason which 
induced Sir Isaac to be so large in the establishment of 
his point, the low invention of Arts, induced me to be 
as large in the subversion of it. And now some satis 
factory account, I hope, is given of the seventy long 

What follows is still more unaccountable However 
these were matters (says the learned writer, speaking of 
the invention of Arts) we never touched upon, as relating 
nothing to our purpose. Here I cannot but lament the 
learned writer s ill fortune. There was but this very 
circumstance in the book he would defend, which is 
essential to his purpose, and this he hath given up as 
nothing to his purpose ; and more unlucky still, on a re 
view of the argument, he hath treated it as an error in 
his author, who took so much pains about it; but yet 
as an error that doth not at all affect the point in ques 
tion. For, 

He concludes thus Nor do they yet induce me to re 
cede from that conclusion of the famous Newton, that 
Sesac was Sesostris, Osiris and Bacchus. Sesac, as I 
said before, I have no concern with. - And as to Bac 
chus, it is agreed that this was only one of the names 
of Osiris. The thing I undertook to prove was, that 

T 4 Osiris 


Osiris and Sesostris were not the same person : but in 
doing this, I did not mean to say that Osiris was not 
one of the nuaies of Sesostris. This is a very different 
thing : and the rather to be taken notice of, because I 
suspect a quibble in the words of the learned writer, 
which would confound the difference. Nor is my sus 
picion unreasonable. For I have met with some of his 
most learned followers, who have ventured to say, that 
Sir Isaac meant no more than that Sesostris was AN 
Osiris. But if he meant no more, I would allow him to 
mean any tiling; and never to have his meaning dis 
puted. I, for my part, and so I suppose every body 
else, understood him to mean, " That the old Osiris, 
famous, amongst the Egyptians, for Legislation and the 
invention of the Arts of life, was the very same man 
with Sesostris, whom these Egyptians make to be a dif 
ferent man, of a later age, and famous for the Conquest 
of the habitable world." This was the proposition I un 
dertook to confute. Wherein I endeavoured to shew, 
" that there was a real Osiris, such as the Egyptians 
represented him, much earlier than their real Sesostris." 
And now (to use this writer s words) the cause being 
brought before the Public , let the learned determine of 
it. As to the other point, that Sesostris went by the 
name of the earlier Hero, this I not only allow, but 
contend for, as it lays open to us one of the principal 
causes of that confusion in their stories, which hath pro 
duced a similitude of actions, whereon Sir Isaac Newton 
layeth the foundation of their IDENTITY. 

But if Sir Isaac Newton and his learned Advocate 
have paid too little deference to Antiquity, there are, 
who, in a contrary extreme, would pay a great deal too 
much. The learned Dr. Pococke, in his book of Tra 
vels, introduceth his discourse On the mythology of the 
ancient Egyptians in this extraordinary manner : " As 
" the mythology, or fabulous religion of the ancient 
" Egyptians, may be looked on, in a great measure, as 
" the foundation of the heathen Religion in most other 
" parts ; so it may not be improper to give some ac- 
" count of the origin of it, as it is delivered by the most 
". ancient authors, which may give some light both to 
" the description of Egypt, and also to the history of 

" that 


" that country. We may suppose, that the Ancients 
1 were the best judges of the nature of their Religion; 
" and consequently, that all interpretations of Iheir 
se that have no sort of foundation in their writings, are 
" forced, and such as might never be intended by them. 
" On the contrary, it is necessary to retrench several 
cc things the Ancients themselves seem to have invented, 
" and grafted on true history; and, in order to account 
" for many things, the Genealogies and Alliances they 
" mention must in several respects be false or erro- 
" neous, and seem to have been invented to accommo- 
cf date the honours of the same Deities to different 
" persons, they were obliged to deify, who lived at dif- 
" ferent times; and so they were obliged to give them 
" new names, invent genealogies, and some different 
" attributes," pp. 221, 222. 

He says, We may suppose that the ancients were the 
best judges of the nature of their religion, and of their 
mythology. But the Ancients, here spoken otj were 
not Egyptians, but Greeks; and the Mythology here 
spoken of was not Greek, but Egyptian: Therefore 
these Ancients might well be mistaken about the nature 
of a Religion which they borrowed from strangers; the 
principles of which, they tell us, were always kept se 
creted from them. But this is not all ; they in fact were 
mistaken; and by no means good judges of the nature 
of their Religion, if we may believe one of the most au 
thentic of these Ancients, HERODOTUS himself, where 
discoursing of the Greeks he expressly says, " But the 
" origin of each God, and whether they are all from 
" eternity, and what is their several kinds or natures, 
" to speak the truth, they neither knew at that time nor 
" since*." 

The learned Traveller goes on and CONSEQUENTLY 
that all interpretations of their Mythology by men of 
FRUITFUL INVENTIONS, that have no sort of founda 
tion in their writings, are forced, and such as might 
never be intended by them. This is indeed a TRUTH, 
but it is no CONSEQUENCE, and therefore not to the pur 
pose. For, whether the Ancients were, or were not, 
* See above. 



the best judges ; whether the Moderns have, or have not, 
fruitful inventions, yet if their interpretations have no 
sort of foundation in ancient writings, it is a great 
chance but they are forced ; and as great, that the An 
cients never intended what the Moderns ascribe to them. 
However, he gets nothing by this hypothetical proposi 
tion, unless it be the discredit of begging the question. 

But the most extraordinary is his making it an addi 
tional reason for leaving the Moderns and sticking to the 
Ancients, that the Ancients seem to have invented and 
grafted on true history ; and, in order (he says) to ac 
count for many things, the genealogies and alliances they 
mention must in several respects be false or erroneous., 
and seem to have been invented, 8$c. Now, if the Ancients 
were thus mistaken, the Moderns sure may be excused 
in endeavouring to set them right : To common sense, 
thereto re, this would seem to shew the use of their inter 
pretations. But this use is better understood from our 
Author s own success ; who, in this chapter concerning 
the Egyptian mythology, has attempted to give us some 
knowledge of Antiquity, without them. And here we 
find the ancient account, to which he so closely adheres, 
is not only fabulous by his own confession, but contra 
dictory by his own representation ; a confused collection 
of errors and absurdities; that very condition of Anti 
quity which forced the Moderns to have recourse to 
interpretations", and occasioned that variety whereon 
our author grounds his charge against them. A charge, 
however, in which his Ancients themselves will be in 
volved ; for they likewise had their interpretations ; and 
were (if their variety would give it them) as fruitful at 
least, in their inventions. For instance. How discor 
dant were they in their opinions concerning the origin of 
ANIMAL WORSHIP ! Was our Author ignorant that so 
odd a superstition wanted explanation ? By no means. 
Yet for fear of incurring the censure of a fruitful inven 
tion, instead of taking the fair solution of a modern Cri 
tic, or even any rational interpretation of the ancient 
Mythoiogists, whom yet he professes to follow, he 
contents himself with that wretched fable " of Typhon s 
dividing the body of Osiris into twenty-six parts, and 
distributing them to his accomplices ; which being after 


wards found by Isis, and delivered by her to distinct 
bodies of priests to be buried with great secrecy, she 
enjoined them to pay divine honours to him, and to con 
secrate some particular animal to his memory." From 
this account (says our author very gravely) we may see 
the reason why so many sacred animals were worshipped 
in Egypt, p. 226. Again, the Greek account, in Dio- 
dorus, of Osiris s expedition, has been shewn to be a 
heap of impossible absurdities; yet our author believes 
it all; and would have believed as much more, rather 
than have run the hazard of any modem invention. 

AND now, we presume, the MINOR of Sir Isaac 
Newton s general argument, that Osiris and Sesostris 
were the same, is intirely overthrown. For, i. It hath 
been proved, taat the premisses, he employs in its sup 
port, do not infer it. 2. That the consequence of his 
conclusion from it, contradicts sacred Scripture; and 
3. That it disagrees with the very nature of things. 

So that our first proposition, That the Egyptian 
learning celebrated in Scripture, and the Egyptian su 
perstition there condemned, were the very Learning and 
Superstition represented by the Greek writers, as the 
honour and opprobrium of that people, stands clear of 
all objection. What that Learning and Superstition 
were, we have shewn very largely, though occasionally, 
in the couree of this inquiry ; whereby it appears, that 
their Learning in general was consummate skill in CIVIL 




I COME, at length, to my second proposition: 
which if, by this time, the Reader should have for 
gotten, he may be easily excused. It is this, That the 
Jewish people were extremely fond of Egyptian manners, 
and did frequently fall into Egyptian superstitions: and 
that many of the laws given to them by the ministry of 
Moses, were instituted* partly in compliance to theirpre-- 
judices, and partly in opposition to those superstitions. 
The first part of this proposition the people s fond 



ness for, and frequent lapse into, Egyptian supersti 
tions., needs not many words to evince. The thing, as 
we shall see hereafter, being so natural in itself; "and, 
as we shall now see, so fully recorded in holy Scripture. 
The time was now come for the deliverance of the 
chosen People from their Egyptian bondage : For now 
VICE and IDOLATRY were arrived at their height; the 
former (as St. Paul tells us) by means of the latter ; for 
as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, 
God gave, them over to a reprobate, mind, to do those 
things which are not convenient ; being filed with all 
unrighteousness*, &c. The two most populous regions 
at that time in the world were CANAAN and EGYPT: 
The first distinguished from all other by its violence and 
unnatural crimes] the latter by its superstitions and 
idolatries. It concerned God s moral government that 
a speedy check should be put to both ; the inhabitants 
of these two places being now ripe for divine vengeance. 
And as the Instruments he employed to punish their pre 
sent enormities were designed for a barrier against 
future, the Israelites went out of Egypt with a high 
hand y which desolated their haughty tyrants ; and were 
led into the possession of the land of Canaan, whose in 
habitants they were utterly to exterminate. The dispen 
sation of this Providence appears admirable, both in the 
time and in the modes of the punishment. VICE and 
IDOLATRY had now (as I said) filled up their measure. 
EGYPT, the capital of false Religion, being likewise the 
nursery of arts and sciences, was preserved from total 
destruction for the sake of civil life and polished man 
ners, which were to derive their source from thence : 
But the CANAANITES were to be utterly exterminated, 
to vindicate the honour of humanity, and to put a stop 
to a spreading contagion which changed the reasonable 
Nature into brutal. 

Now it was that GOD, remembering his Covenant 
with Abraham, was pleased to appoint his People, then 
groaning under their bondage, a Leader and Deliverer. 
But so great was their degeneracy, and so sensible was 
MOSES of its effects, in their ignorance of, or alienation 
from the true GOD, that he would willingly have declined 
* Rom. i. 28. 



the office : And when absolutely commanded to under 
take it, he desired however that GOD would let him 
know by what NAME he would be called, when the peo 
ple should ask the name of the GOD of their fathers. 
And Moses said unto GOD, Behold when I come unto 
the children of Israel, and say unto them, The GOD of 
your fathers hath sent me unto you ; and they shall say 
unto me, WHAT is HIS NAME? what shall I say unto 
them*? Here we see a people not only lost to all 
knowledge of the UNITY (for the asking for a name ne 
cessarily implied their opinion of a plurality), but like 
wise possessed with the very spirit of Egyptian idolatry. 
The religion of NAMES, as we have shewn f, was a 
matter of great consequence in Egypt. It was one of 
their essential superstitions : it was one of their native 
inventions : and the first of them which they communi 
cated to the Greeks. Thus when Hagar, the handmaid 
of Sarai, who was an Egyptian woman, saw the angel 
of God in the wilderness, the text tells us J, She called 
the name of the Lord that spake unto her, ELROI, the 
God of vision, or the visible God: that is, according to 
the established custom of Egypt, she gave him a name 
of honour : not merely a name of distinction ; for such, 
all nations had (who worshipped local tvtelary deities) 
before their communication with Egypt ||. But, after 
that (as appears from the place of Herodotus quoted 
above, concerning the Pelasgi), they decorated their 
Gods with distinguished Titles, indicative of their spe 
cific office and attributes. A NAME was so peculiar an 
adjunct to a local tutelary Deity, that we see by a pas 
sage quoted by Lanctantius from the spurious books of 
Trismegist (which however abounded with Egyptian no 
tions and superstitions) that the one supreme God had 
no name or title of distinction ^[. Zachariah evidently 


* Exod. iii. 13. t Page 222, & seq. J Gen. xvi. 13. 

H See note [MMMM] at the end of this Book. 

ff Hie scripsit libros in quibus majestatem summi ac singularis 
dei asserit, iisdemque nominibus appellat, quibus nos, DEUM & PA- 
TREM. Ac ne quis NOHEN ejus requireret ANHNYMON esse dixit; 
eo quod nominis proprietate non egeat, ob ipsam scilicet unitatem. 
Ipsius hsec verba sunt, o *\ EO? eTr; 3 o I sis ovopoLr* a er^ielon; &* 
ya,% o vt a,wi V[Ao<;. Deo igitur nomen non est, quia solus est: nee 



alluding to these notions, when he prophesies of the wor 
ship of the supreme God, unmixed with idolatry, says, 
In that day shall there be one Lord, and HIS NAME 
ONE*; that is, only bearing the simple title of LORD : 
and, as in the words of Lanctantius below, ac ne quis 
NOMEN ejus requireret, ANfiNTMON esse dimt-y eo 
quodnominis PROPRIETATE non egeat, ob ipsam scilicet 
UNITATEM. Out of indulgence therefore to this weak 
ness, GOD was pleased to give himself a NAME. And 
God said unto Moses, i AM THAT i AM: And he said, 
Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, i AM 
hath sent me unto you f. Where we may observe (ac 
cording to the constant method of divine Wisdom, when 
it condescends to the prejudices of men) how, in the 
very instance of indulgence to their superstition, he gives 
a corrective of it. The Religion of names arose from an 
idolatrous polytheism ; and the NAME here given, im 
plying eternity and self -existence, directly opposeth that 

This compliance with the Religion cf names was a new 
indulgence to the prejudices of this people, as is evident 
from the following words : And GOD spake unto Moses, 
and said unto him, I am the Lord: and I appeared unto 
Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the NAME 
I not known to them J. That is, as the GOD of Abra 
ham, I before condescended to have a Name of distinc 
tion: but now, in compliance to another prejudice, I 
condescend to have a Name of honour. This seems to 
be the true interpretation of this very difficult text, about 
which the commentators are so much embarrassed. For 
the word Jehovah, whose name is here said to be un 
known to the Patriarchs, frequently occurring in the 
book of Genesis, had furnished Unbelievers with a pre 
text that the same person could not be author of the two 
books of Genesis and Exodus. But Ignorance and 
Scepticism, which set Infidelity on work, generally bring 
it to shame. They mistook the true sense of the text. 


opus est proprio vocabulo, nisi cum discrimen exigit multitude, ut 
unamquamque personam sua nota et appellatione designes. Div, 
Inst. 1. i. c. 6. 

* Ch. xiv. 9. f Exod, iii. 14. { Ib. yi. 3; 


The assertion is not, that the WORD Jehovah was not 
used in the patriarchal language; but that the NAME 
Jehovah, as a title of honour, (whereby a new idea \vas 
affixed to an old word) was unknown to them. Thus, 
in a parallel instance, we say rightly, that the King s 
SUPREMACY was unknown to the English Constitution 
till the time of Henry vui. though the word was in use, 
and even applied to the chief Magistrate, (indeed in a 
different and more simple sense) long before. 

The common solution of this difficulty is as ridiculous 
as it is false. You shall have it in the words of a very 
ingenious Writer. " The word JEHOVAH signifies the 
" being unchangeable in his resolutions, and conseqently 
" the being infinitely faithful in performing his promises. 
" In this sense, the word is employed in the passage of 
" Exodus now under examination. So that when God 
<c says, by my name Jehovah was I not known to them, 
" this signifies as one faithful to fulfil my promise, 
ic was I not known to them. i. e. I had not then ful- 
" filled the promise which I had made to them, of 
" bringing their posterity out of Egypt, and giving 
" them the land of Canaan *." By which interpretation, 
the Almighty is made to tell the Israelites that he was not 
known to their forefathers as the God who had redeemed 
their posterity from Egypt, before they had any posterity 
to redeem. A marvellous revelation, and, without 
doubt, much wanted. To return. 

MOSES, however, appears still unwilling to accept 

this Commission ; and presumes to tell GOD, plainly, 

Behold they will not believe me, nor hearken to my voice : 

for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto 


* il signifie Vet re immuable dans ses resolutions, et par conse 
quent Vetre injiniment Jidelle dans ses prowesses, et c est dans cette 
acception que ce nom est emploie dans le passage de 1 Exode, que 
nous examinons. Qu ainsi quand Dieu dit, Je ne leur ai point est<> 
connu en mon nom de Jehovah, cela signifie, Je ne me suis point fait 
connoitre, comme Jidelle d remplir mes promesses t c est-a-dire, JE 
N AI PAS ENCORE REMPLI LA PROMESSE, qui Jc leur avoisfaitc, de 
retirer de VEgyptc leur posterite, et de lui donner la terre de Chanaan. 
M. Astruc, Conjectures sur le livre de la Genese, p. 305. He says 
very truly, that, in this solution, he had no other part to perform, 
que suivre la foule des Comment ateurs tant Chretiens que Juifs t 
p. 301. 


thee *, But could this be said or thought by a People, 
who, groaning in the bitterest servitude, had a message 
from GOD, of a long promised deliverance, at the very 
time that, according to the prediction, the promise was 
to he fulfilled, if they had kept him and his dispensations 
in memory ? When this objection is removed, Moses 
hath yet another ; and that is, his inability for the office 
of an ORATOR. This too is answered. And when he 
is now driven from all his subterfuges, he with much 
passion declines the whole employment, and cries out, 
O my GOD, send I pray thee by the hand of him whom 
thou wilt send"\. This justly provokes GOD S dis 
pleasure : and thereon, he finally complies. From all 
this backwardness, (and the cause of it could be no 
other than what is here assigned ; for MOSES, as appears 
by the former part of his history J, was forward and 
zealous enough to promote the welfare of his brethren) 
we must needs conclude, that he thought the recovery 
of this People from EGYPTIAN SUPERSTITIONS to be 
altogether desperate. And, humanly speaking, he did 
not judge amiss ; as may be seen from a succinct account 
of their behaviour during the whole time GOD was 
working this amazing Deliverance. 

For now Moses and Aaron discharge their message ; 
and having confirmed it by signs and wonders, the People 
believed : but it was such a belief, as men have of a new 
and unexpected matter, well attested. They bow the 
head too, and worship || ; but it appears to be a thing 
they had not been lately accustomed to. And how little 
true sense they had of GOD S promises and visitation 
is seen from their murmuring and desponding ^f when 
things did not immediately succeed to their wishes ; 
though Moses, as from God, had told them beforehand, 
that Pharaoh would prove cruel and hard-hearted] and 
would defer their liberty to the very last distress** 1 . And 
at length, when that time came, and GOD had ordered 
them to purify themselves from all the idolatries of EGYPT, 
so prodigiously attached were they to these follies, that 
they disobeyed his command even at the very eve of 

* Exod. iv. i. f Chap. iv. 3. 

Chap. ii. 12. j| Chap. iv. 31. 

1T Chap. v. 21. ** Chap. iii. 19, 20, 21. 



their deliverance *. A thing altogether incredible, but 
that we have GOD S own word for it, by the prophet 
Ezekiel : In the day (says lie) that I lifted up mine hand 
unto them to bring them forth of the land of Egypt , 
into a land that I had spied for them flowing with milk 
and honey, which is the glory of all lands : Then said I 
imto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of 
his eyes, and dejile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: 
I am the Lord your GOD. But they rebelled against 
me, and would not hearken unto me : they did not every 
man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither 
did they forsake the idols of Egypt : Then I said, I will 
pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger 
against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. But I 
wrought for my names sake, that it should not be pol 
luted before the heathen, amongst whom they were, in 
whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing 
them forth out of the land of Egypt. Wherefore I 
caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and 
brought them into the wilderness f. 

From all this it appears, that their Cry, by reason of 
their bondage, which came up unto GOD, was not for 
such a deliverance as was promised to their forefathers, 
to be brought up out of Egypt : but for such a one as 
might enable them to live at ease, amongst tfaeir jfeA-jboite, 
in it. 

But now they are delivered : and, by a series of mi 
racles performed in their behalf, got quite clear of the 
power of Pharaoh. Yet on every little distress. Let us 
return to Egypt, was still the cry. Thus, immediately 
after their deliverance at the Red- Sea, on so common 
an accident, as meeting with bitter waters in their route, 
they were presently at their What shall we drink J ? 
And no sooner had a miracle removed this distress, and 
they gotten into the barren wilderness, but they were, 
again, at their What shall we eat\\? Not that indeed 
they feared to die either of hunger or of thirst ; for they 
found the hand of GOD was still ready to supply their 
wants ; all but their capital want, to return again into 

* See note [NNNN] at the end of this Book. 

f Ezek. xx. 6. & geq. { Exod. xv. 24. \\ Ch, xvi. 2. 



EGYPT; and these pretences were only a less indecent 
cover to their designs : which yet, on occasion, they 
were not ashamed to throw off, as where they say to 
Moses, when frightened by the pursuit of the Egyptians 
at the Red-Sea, Is not this the word that we did tell 
thee in Egypt, Let us alone that we may serve tht 
Egyptians *. And again, Would to GOD, we had died 
by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we 
sat by the flesh-pots and did eat bread to the full t. That 
is, in plain terms, <e Would we had died with our 
" brethren the Egyptians." For they here allude to the 
destruction of \hejirst-horn, when the destroying angel 
(which was more than they deserved) passed over the 
habitations of Israel. 

But they have now both flesh and bread, when they 
cry out the second time for water : and even while, again, 
at their IV hy hast thou brought us up out of Egypt , 
a rock, less impenetrable than their hearts, is made to 
pour out a stream so large that the water run down like 
rivers \\ : yet all the effect it seemed to have upon them 
was only to put them more in mind of the way of Egypt, 
and the WATERS of Si /tor <{[. 

Nay even after their receiving the LAW, on their free 
and solemn acceptance of Jevhovah for their GOD and 
KING, and their being consecrated anew, as it were, 
for his peculiar People, Moses only happening to stay 
a little longer in the Mount than they expected, They 
fairly took the occasion of projecting a scheme, and, to 
say the truth, no bad one, of returning back into Egypt. 
They went to Aaron, and pretending they never hoped 
to see Moses again, desired another Leader. But they 
would have one in the mode of Egypt ; an Image, or 
visible representative of GOD, to go before them **. 
Aaron complies, and makes them a GOLDEN CALF, in 
conformity to the superstition of Egypt ; whose great 
God Osiris was worshipped under that representation ff ; 
and, for greater holiness too, out of the jewels of the 
Egyptians. In this so horrid an impiety to the GOD of 

* Exod. xiv. 1-2. f Chap. xvi. 3. 

| Chap. xvii. 3. |J Ps. Ixxviii. 16. 

1f Jer. ii. 18. ** Exod. xxxii. i. 

It O MOIKOS ro?, AIIJS Kc&sopH: Herodot. 1. iii. 28. 



their fathers, their secret drift *, if we may believe 
St. Stephen, was this; they wanted to get back into 
Egypt; and while the CALF, so much adored in that 
country, went before them, they could return with an 
atonement and reconciliation in their hands. And 
doubtless their worthy Mediator, being made all of sa 
cred, Egyptian metal, would have been consecrated in 
one of their temples, under the title of OSIRIS REDVCTOR. 
But Moses s sudden appearance broke all their measures : 
and the ringleaders of the design were punished as they 

At length, after numberless follies and perversities, 
they are brought, through GOD S patience and long- 
suffering, to the end of all their travels, to the promised 
place of rest, which is just opening to receive them ; 
When, on the report of the cowardly explorers of the 
Land, they relapse again into their old delirium, JHiere- 
fore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by 
the sword, that our wives and our children should be a 
prey ? were it not better for us to return into Egypt ? 
And they said one to another, Let us make a captam, and 
let us return into Egypt f. This so provoked the Al 
mighty, that he condemned that Generation to be worn 
away in the wilderness. How they spent their time there, 
the prophet Amos will inform us, Have ye offered unto 
me (says GOD) any sacrifices and offerings in the Wil 
derness forty years, O house of Israel $ f 

In a word, this unwillingness to leave Egypt, and this 
impatience to return thither, are convincing proofs of 
their fondness for its customs and superstitions. When 
I consider this, I seem more inclined than the generality 
even of sober Critics to excuse the false accounts of the 
Pagan writers concerning the Exodus ; who concur in 
representing the Jews as expelled or forcibly driven out 
of Egypt ; For so indeed they were. The mistake was 
only about their driver. The Pagans supposed him to 
be the King of Egypt; when indeed it was the GOD of 
Israel himself, by the ministry of Moses. 

* " To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from 
them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, saying * 
" unto Aaron, Make us Gods to go before us/ &c. A* ts vii. 39, 40. 

t Numb. xiv. 3, 4. j Am. v. 25. 

u 2 Let 


Let us view them next, in possession of the PROMISED 
LAND. A \sn\d Jiozt ing with milk and honey, the glory 
of all lands. One would expect now their longing after 
Egypt should have entirely ceased. And so without 
doubt it would, had it arose only from the flesh-pots ; 
but it had a deeper root ; it was the spiritual luxury of 
Egypt, their superstitions, with which the Israelites 
were so debauched. And therefore no wonder they 
should still continue slaves to their appetite. Thus the 
prophet Ezekiel, Neither LEFT she her whoredoms 
brought from Egypt * So that after all GOD S mercies 
conferred upon them in putting them in possession of the 
land of Canaan, Joshua is, at last, forced to leave them 
with this fruitless admonition : Now therefore fear the 
Lord, and ser*ve him in sincerity and in truth ; and PUT 
AWAY the Gods which your fathers served on the other 
side of the food ami in EGYPT -(-. It is true, we are told 
that the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, 
and all the duys of the elders that outlived Joshua, who 
had seen all the great works of the Lord that he did for 
Israel . But, out of sight out of mind. It is then 
added And there arose another generation after them, 
which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he 
had done for Israel And they forsook the Lord God 
of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of 
Egypt, and followed other Gods, of the Gods of the 
people that were round about them ||. And in this state 
they continued throughout the whole administration of 
their JUDGES ; except, when, from time to time, they 
were awakened into repentance by the severity of GOD S 
judgments; which yet were no sooner passed, than they 
fell back again into their old lethargy, a forgetful ness of 
his mercies. 

Nor did their fondness for Egypt at all abate when 
they came under the iron rod of their KINGS; the Ma 
gistrate they had so rebelliously demanded ; and who, as 
they pretended, was to set all things right. On the 
contrary, this folly grew still more inflamed ; and in 
stead of one CALF they would have two. Which 
Ezekiel hints at, where he says, Yet she MULTIPLIED 

* Ezek. xxiii. 8. f Josh. xxiv. 14,. 

Judgesii. 7, H Ib. ii. 10 12. 



her whoredoms in calling to remembrance the days of 
her youth wherein she had played the harlot in Egypt *. 
And so favourite a superstition were the CALVES of 
Dan and Beth-el, that they still kept their ground against 
all those general Reformations which divers of their 
better sort of Kings had made, to purge the land of Is 
rael from idolatries. It is true, their extreme fondness for 
Egyptian superstition was not the only cause of this inve 
terate adherence to their CALVES. There were t\vo others ; 
They flattered themselves that this specific idolatry 
was not altogether so gross an affront to the GOD 

O o 

of their fathers, as many of the rest. Other of their 
idolatries consisted in worshipping Strange Gods in 
conjunction with the GOD of Israel; this of the 
CALVES, only in worshipping the GOD of Israel in an 
idolatrous manner : as appears from the history of their 
erection. And Jeroboam f said in his heart, Now shall 
the kingdom return to the house of David : if this people 
go up to do sacrijice in the house of the Lord at Jeru 
salem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto 
their lord, even unto Rehoboam King of * Judah, and they 
shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. 
Whereupon the King took counsel, and made two CALVES 
of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to 
go up to Jerusalem, Behold thy Gods, O Israel, which 
brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set 
the one in Beth-el, and the other put lie in Dan %. It 
is too much for you (says he) to go up to Jerusalem. 
Who were the men disposed to go up ? None surely 
but the worshippers of the GOD of Israel. Consequently 
the CALVES, here offered to save them a journey, must 
needs be given as the representatives of that God. And 
if these were so, then certainly the CALF in Horeb : 
since, at their several consecrations, the very same pro 
clamation was made of all three : Behold thy GODS, 

Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 
The other cause of the perpetual adherence of the 

Kingdom of Israel to their GOLDEN CALVES was their 

* Ezek. xxiii. 19. 

f It is to be observed of this Jeroboam, that he had sojourned in 
Kgypt, as a refugee, during the latter part of the reign of Solomon, 

1 Kings xi. 40. I 1 Kings xii. 26. & seq. 

u 3 being 


being erected for a prevention of reunion with the King 
dom of Judah. If this people (says the politic contriver) 
-go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jeru 
salem, then shall the heart of this people turn again 
unto their lord, even unto liehoboam king of Judah. 
The succeeding kings, therefore, we may be sure, were 
as careful in preserving them, as He was in putting them 
up. So that, good or bad, the character common to 
them all was, that he departed not from the sins of Jero 
boam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin ; namely, 
in worshipping the Calves in Dan and Beth-el. And 
those of them who appeared most zealous for the Law of 
GOD, and utterly, exterminated the idolatry of Baal, 
yet connived at least, at this political worship of the 
CALVES. Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel. 
How belt from the sins of Jeroboam the sonof Ncbat who 
made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not, to wit, the golden 
CALVES that were in Beth-el, and that were in Dan*. 

But the Israelites had now contracted all the fashion 
able habits of Egypt. We are assured that it had 
been long peculiar to the Egyptian superstition for 
every city of that empire to have its own tutelary God, 
besides those which were worshipped in common : But 
now Jeremiah tells us the people of Judah bore a part 
with them in this extravagance : Where are thy Gods 
that thou hast made thee? Let them arise, if they can 
save thee in the time of thy trouble: FOR ACCORDING 


And by the time that the sins of this wretched People 
were ripe for the punishment of their approaching Cap 
tivity, they had polluted themselves with all kind of 
Egyptian abominations: as appears from the famous 
VISIONS of EZEKIEL, where their three capital idola 
tries are so graphically described. The prophet repre 
sents himself as brought, in a vision, to Jerusalem : and, 
at the door of the inner gate that looked towards the 
north, he saw the seat of the IMAGE OF JEALOUSY 
which provoke th to jealousy \. Here, by the noblest 
stretch of an inspired imagination, he calls this seat of 
their idolatries, the seat of the Image of Jealousy, whom 

* 2 Kings x. -28, & seq. f Ch. ii. 28. J Ezek. viii. 3- 



he personifies, and the more to catch the attention of 
this corrupt people, converts into an Idol, THE IMAGE 
of JEALOUSY which provoketh to jealousy ; as if he had 
said, God, in his wrath, hath given you one idol more, 
to avenge himself of all the rest. After this sublime 
prelude, the prophet proceeds to the various scenery of 
the inspired Vision. 

I. The first of their capital idolatries is described in 
this manner : And lie brought me to the door of the 
court-, and when I looked, behold, a HOLE IN THE WALL. 
Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in tlie wall-, 
and when I had digged in the wall, behold, a DOOII. And 
he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abomina 
tions that they do here. So I went in, and saw ; and 
MINABLE BEASTS, and all the idols of the house of 
And there stood before them seventy men of the an 
cients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them 
stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his 
censer in his hand-, and a thick cloud of incense went up. 
Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what 
the ancients of the house of Israel do IN THE DARK, 
every man in the CHAMBERS OF HIS IMAGERY*? 

1. The first inference I draw from these words is, 
That the Superstition here described was EGYPTIAN 
This appears from its object s being the Gods peculia 
to Egypt, every form of creeping things and abominable 
beasts ; which, in another place, the same prophet calls, 
with great propriety and elegance, the abominations of 
the eyes of the Israelites \. 

2. The second inference is, That they contain a very 
lively and circumstantial description of the so celebrated 
MYSTERIES OF Isis AND OSIRIS. For, i. The rites are 
represented as performed in a secret subterraneous place. 
And when I looked, behold, a HOLE in the wall. Then 
said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall , and 
when I had digged in the wall, behold, a DOOR. And 

* Ezek. viii. 7, & seq. 

f Chap. xx. 7, 8. This shews brute-worship in Egypt to have 
been vastly extensive at the Exodus ; the time the prophet is here 
speaking of, 

u 4 he 


he said unto me, Go in Hast thou seen what the An 
cients of the house of Israel do in the DARK? This 
secret place was, as the Prophet tells us, in the Tempie. 
And such kind of places, for this use, the Egyptians had 
in their Temples, as we learn from a similitude of Plu 
tarch s. Like the disposition (says he) and ordonance of 
their Tempks , which, in one place, enlarge and extend 
themselves into long wings, and f air and open aisles ; in an- 
vther> sink into dark and secret subterranean Vestries, like 
the Adyta of the Thebans * : which Tacitus describes in 
these words u atque alibi angustire, et profunda altitudo, 
nullis inquirentium spaciis penetrabilis-f-." 2. These 
rites are celebrated by the SANHEDRIM, or the elders 
of Israel : And there stood before them seventy men of 
the ancients of the house of Israel. Now it hath been 
shewn in the Account of the MYSTERIES, that none but 
princes, rulers, and the wisest of the people, were ad 
mitted to their more secret celebrations. 3. The paint 
ings and imagery, on the walls of this subterraneous 
apartment, answer exactly to the descriptions the ancients 
have given us of the mystic cells of the Egyptians;]:. 
Behold every form of creeping things and abominable 
beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel pour t rayed 
upon the wall round about. So Arnmianus Marcellinus 
" Sunt et syringes subterranei quidatn et flexuosi se- 
cessus, quos, ut fertur, periti, rituum vetustorurn 
c penitus operosis digestos fodinis, per loca diversa 
struxerunt : et evcisis parietibus volucrum ferarumque 
:( genera multa sculpserunt, quas hieroglyphicas lit eras 
" appdlarunt\\" There is a famous antique monument, 
once a consecrated utensil in the rites of Isis and Osiris, 
and now well known to the curious by the name of the 
ISIAC or BEMBINE TABLE; on which (as appears by 

? a TE ruv Nawv a0fVK, <&w fjt\v oiitn^lvuv tit; -zzrl^a 

.io*? IOIXOTO. xj 0-jjJto*?. Dap la-, xj Or p. 632. Steph. ed. 
-\- Ann. xi. c. 6-2. 

J Thus described by a learned Antiquary, Adyta ^gyptiorum, in 
quibus sacerdotes sacra operari, ritusque et coeremonias suas exercere 
sole bant, suhterranca loca cranf, singulari quodarn artificio ita con- 
structa, ut nihil non mysteriosi in iis occurreret. Mvri ex omni 
parte plcni turn hieroglyphicis picturis, turn scutpturisK n-cher. 
|j Lib. xxii. c. 15. 



the order of the several compartments) is pourtrayed all 
the imagery that adorned the walls of the Mystic Cell. 
Now if one were to describe the engravings on that 
table, one could not find juster or more emphatic terms 
than those which the Prophet here employs. 

3. The third inference I would draw from this vision 
is, that the Egyptian superstition was that to which the 
Israelites were more particularly addicted. And thus 
much I gather from the following words, Behold, every 
form oj creeping things, and abominable beasts, and ALL 


the wall r^und about. I have shewn this to be a de 
scription of an Egyptian mystic cell: which certainly 
was adorned only with Egyptian Gods : and yet those 
Gods are here called, by way of distinction, ail the idols 
of the house of Israel : which seems plainly to infer 
this People s more particular addiction to them. But 
the words, house of Israel, being used in a vision 
describing the idolatries of the house of Judah, I take it 
for granted, that in this indefinite number of All the 
idols of the house of Israel, were eminently included 
those two prime idols of the house of Israel, the calves 
of Dan and Beth-el. And the rather, for that I find 
the original Calves held a distinguished station in the 
paintings of the Mystic Cell ; as the reader may see by 
casting his eye upon the Bembine Table. And this, by 
the way, will lead us to the reason of Jeroboam s erect 
ing two Calves. For they were, we see, worshipped in 
pairs by the Egyptians, as representing Isis and Osiris. 
And what is remarkable, the Calves were male and fe 
male, as appears from 2 Kings, ch. x. ver. 29. compared 
with Ilosea, ch. x. ver. 5. where in one place the mas 
culine, and in the other the feminine term is employed. 
But though the Egyptian Gods are thus, by way of 
eminence, called the idols of the house of Israel, yet 
other idols they had besides Egyptian ; and of those good 
store, as we shall now see. 

Eor this prophetic vision is employed in describing 
the three master-superstitions of this unhappy people, 

II. The Egyptian we have seen. The PHENICIAN 
follows in these words: He said also unto me y Turn 



thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations 
that they do. Then he brought me to the gate of the 
Lord s house, which was towards the NORTH, and behold, 

III. The PERSIAN superstition is next described in 
this manner: Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen 
this, O son of man ? Turn thee yet again, and thou 
shalt see greater abominations than these. And he 
brought me into the inner court of the Lords house, 
and behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between 
the porch and the altar, were about jive and twenty men, 
with their backs towards the temple of the Lord, and 


1 . It is to be observed, that when the Prophet is bid 
to turn from the Egyptian to the Phenician rites, he is 
then said to look towards the north ; which was the si 
tuation of Phenicia with regard to Jerusalem ; conse 
quently, he before stood southward, the situation of 
Egypt, with regard to the same place. And when, 
from thence, he is bid to turn into the inner court of 
the Lord s house, to see the Persian rites, this was east, 
the situation of Persia. With such exactness is the re 
presentation of the whole Vision conducted. 

2. Again, as the mysterious rites of Egypt are said, 
agreeably to their usage, to be held in secret, by their 
ELDERS AND RULERS only: so the Phenician rites, 
for the same reason, are shewn as they were celebrated 
by the PEOPLE, in open clay. And the Persian wor 
ship of the sun, which was performed by the Magi, is 
here said to be observed by the PRIESTS alone, Jive and 
twenty men with their faces towards the east. 

These three capital Superstitions, the Prophet, again, 
distinctly objects to them, in a following chapter. Thou 
hast also committed fornication with the EGYPTIANS 
thy neighbours, great of flesh + -, and hast increased 
thy whoredoms to provoke me to anger. Thou hast 
played the whore also with the ASSYRIANS, because thou 
wast unsatiable : yea thou hast played the harlot with 
them, and yet couldst not be satisfied. Thou hast more- 

* Ezek. viii. 13, & seq. f Ib. 15, & seq. 

1 See note [OOOO] at the end of this Book. 



over multiplied tin/ fornication in the land of CANAAN 
unto Chaldea, and yet thou wast not satisfied herewith*. 

And when that miserable Remnant, who, on the 
taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, had escaped 
the iate of their enslaved countrymen, were promised 
safety and security, if they would stay in Judea; they 
said, No, butwewillgointothehmdoflLGYYT, where 
we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, 
nor have hunger of bread, and there will we dwell ^ . 

Thus we see what a surprising fondness this infatuated 
people had for Egypt, and how entirely they were seized 
and possessed with its superstitions. Which the more I 
consider, the more I am confirmed in the truth of Scrip 
ture-history (so opposite to Sir Isaac Newton s Egyptian 
Chronology), that Egypt was, at the egression of the 
Israelites, a great and powerful empire. For nothing 
so much attaches a people to any particular Constitution, 
or mode of Government, as the high opinion of its 
power, wealth, and felicity; these being ever supposed 
the joint product of its RELIGION and CIVIL POLICY. 

II. Having thus proved the first part of the Proposi 
tion, That the Jewish people were extremely fond of 
Egyptian manners, and did frequently fall into Egyptian 
superstitions, I come now to the second ; That many of 
the Laws given to them by the ministry of Moses were 
instituted partly in compliance to their prejudices, and 
partly in opposition to those and to the like superstitions. 
But to set what I have to say in support of this second 
part of the Proposition in a fair light, it may be proper 
just to state and explain the ENDS of the Ritual Law. 
Its first and principal, was to guard the chosen people 
from the contagion of IDOLATRY : a second, and very 
important end, was to prepare them for the reception of 
the MESSIAH. The first required that the Ritual Law 
should be OBJECTIVE to the Pagan superstitions ; and 
the second, that it should be TYPICAL of their great 
Deliverer. Now the coincidencies of these two ends, 
not being sufficiently adverted to, hath been the principal 
occasion of that obstinate aversion to the truth here 
advanced, That much of the Ritual was given, PARTLY 

* Ezek. xvi. 26, & seq. t Jerem. xlii. 14. 



in compliance to the Peoples prejudices, and PARTLY in 
opposition to Egyptian superstitions : These men think 
ing the falsehood of the Proposition sufficiently proved 
in shewing tiie Ritual to be typical ; as if the one end 
excluded the other: whereas we see they were very con 
sistent ; and hereafter shall see, that their concurrency 
affords one of the noblest proofs of the divinity of its 

And now, to go on with our subject : The intelligent 
reader cannot but perceive, that the giving a RITUAL in 
opposition to Egyptian superstition, was a necessary 
consequence of the People s propensity towards it. For 
a people so prejudiced, and who were to be dealt with 
as free and accountable Agents, could not possibly be 
kept separate from other nations, and pure from foreign 
idolatries, any otherwise than by giving them laws IN 
OPPOSITION to those superstitions. But such being the 
corrupt state of man s Will as ever to revolt against what 
directly opposeth its prejudices, wise Governors, when 
under the necessity of giving such Laws, have, in order 
to break and evade the force of human perversity, al 
ways intermixed them with others which eluded the per 
versity, by flattering the prejudice; where the indulgence 
could not be so abused as to occasion the evil which the 
laws of opposition w^ere designed to prevent*. And in 
this manner it was that our inspired Lawgiver acted with 
his people, if we will believe JESUS himself, where, 
speaking of a certain positive institution, he says, Moses 
for the HARDNESS OF YOUR HEARTS wrote you this pre 
cept}. Plainly intimating their manners to be such, 
that, had not Moses indulged them in some things, they 
would have revolted against all J. It follows therefore, 
that Moses s giving Laws to the Israelites, in compliance 
to these their prejudices, was a natural and necessary 
consequence of Laws given in opposition to them. Thus 
far from the nature of the thing. 

* See this reasoning inforced, and explained more at large in the 
proof of the next proposition. 
f Mark x. 5. and Matt. xix. 8. 

t This is still farther seen from God s being pleased to be con 
sidered by them as a local tutelary Deity : which, when we come to 
that point, we shall shew was the prevailing superstition of those 



Matter of fact confirms this reasoning. We find in 
the Law a surprising relation and resemblance between 
Jewish and Egyptian rites, in circumstances both oppo 
site and similar. But the learned SPENCER hath fully 
exhausted this subject, in his excellent work, J)s legibus 
Hebrtforum rituallbus 8$ earum rationibus ; and thereby 
done great service to divine revelation: For the RITUAL 
LAW/ when thus explained, is seen to be an Institution 
of the most beautiful and sublime contrivance. Which, 
without its CAUSES (no where to be found but in the 
road of this theory) must lie for ever open to the scorn 
and contempt of Libertines and Unbelievers. This 
noble work is no other than a paraphrase and comment 
on the third part of a famous treatise called More Ne- 
vochim, of the Rabbi MOSES MAIMONIDES : of whom 
only to say (as is his common Encomium) that he was 
the first of the Rabbins who left off* trifling, is a poor 
and invidious commendation. Thither I refer the impar 
tial reader ; relying on his justice to believe that I mean 
to charge myself with no more of Spencer s opinions than 
what directly tend to the proof of this part of my Pro 
position, by shewing, That there is a great and surprising 
relation and resemblance between the Jewish and Egyp 
tian rites, in circumstances both opposite and similar. 

I ask nothing unreasonable of the reader, when I de 
sire him to admit of this as proved ; since the learned 
HERMAN WITSIUS, in a book professedly written to con 
fute the hypothesis of Maimonides and Spencer, confesses 
the fact in the fullest and amplest manner *. 

* Ita autcm commodissime me processvnwi cxistimo, si primo lon^a 
excmplorum inductions ex doctissimorum virorum mente, ct eorum ple- 
r unique verbis, demonstravero, MAGNAM ATQUE MIRANDAM PLANE 

ATQUE IIEBROS ESSE. Qu(C CUM fortUltil eSSC ?tOfl pOSsit , UCCCSS6 est 

lit I d ^Egyptii sua ab Hebneis, vet ex adterso liebrsei sua ab 
/Egyptiis abeant. And again, Porro, *?, levato antiqnitatis obscurioris 
velo, gentium omnium ritus oculis vigilantibus intucamur, yEgyptios ^ 
llebrseos, PR/T, OMNIBUS ALIIS moribus SIMILLIMOS fuisse compe- 
riemus. Neque hoc Kirc\iei~\imfefellit, cnjus hccc stint vtrba : Ilebrau 
tantam habent ad ritus, sacrificia, caerimonias, sacras discipluias 
^Egyptiorum affinitatem, ut vel JEgyptios htbraizantes, vel Hebrczos 
a gyptizantes fuisse, plane mihi persuadeam. Sed quid verbis opus 
est ? in rem prcesentem veniamiis, [-^gyptiaca, p. 4.] And so he goes 
on to transcribe, from Spencer and Marsham, all the eminent parti 
culars of thut resemblance. 



What is it then (a stranger to Controversy would be 
apt to inquire) which this learned man addresses himself, 
in a large quarto volume, to eonfute ? It is the plain and 
natural consequence of this resemblance, namely, That 
the Jewish Ritual was given partly in compliance to the 
Peoples prejudices, and partly in opposition to Egyptian 
superstitions ; the Proposition we undertake to prove. 
Witsitis thinks, or is rather willing to think, that the 
Egyptian Ritual was invented in imitation of the Jewish. 
For the reader sees, that both sides are agreed in this, 
That either the Jews borrowed from the Egyptians, or 
the Egyptians from the Jews ; so strong is the resem 
blance which forces this confession from them. 

Now the only plausible support of Witsius s party 
being a thing taken for granted, viz. that the rites and 
customs of the Egyptians, as delivered by the Greeks, 
were of much later original than these writers assign to 
them ; and my discourse on the ANTIQUITIES OF 
EGYPT, in the preceding section, proving it to be en 
tirely groundless ; the latter part of the proposition, viz. 
That many of the laws given to the Jews, by the ministry 
of Moses, were instituted partly in compliance to their 
prejudices, and partly in opposition to Egyptian super 
stitions, is sufficiently proved. 

But to let nothing that hath the appearance of an ar 
gument remain unanswered, I shall, in as few words as 
may be, examine this opinion, That the Egyptians bor 
rowed from the Israelites ; regarding both Nations in 
that very light in which holy Scripture hath placed them. 
The periods then in which this must needs be supposed 
to have happened, are one or other of these: i. The 
time of Abraham s residence in Egypt; 2. of Joseph s 
government ; 3. of the slavery of his, and his bre 
thren s descendants ; or, 4. Any indefinite time after 
their egression from Egypt. 

Now not to insist on the utter improbability of a potent 
nation s borrowing its religious Rites from a private 
Family, or from a People they held in slavery ; I answer, 
that of these four periods, the three first are beside the 
question. For the characteristic resemblance insisted 
on, is that which we find between the Egyptian ritual, 
and what is properly called MOSAICAL. And let it not 



be said, that we are unable to distinguish the Rites which 
were purely LEGAL from such as were PATRIARCHAL *: 
for Moses, to add the greater force and efficacy to the 
whole of his Institution, hath been careful to record each 
specific Rite which was properly Patriarchal. 

Thus, though Moses enjoined CIRCUMCISION, he hath 
been careful to record the patriarchal institution of it 
with all its circumstances Moses gave unto you circum 
cision (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers) 
says JESUS f. So again, where he institutes the Jewish 
sabbath of rest, he records the patriarchal observance of it, 
in these words: In six days the Lord made heaven and 
earth, fyc. and rested the seventh day: wherefore the 
Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it J. 

The last period then only remains to be considered, 
namely, from the Egression. Now at that time and 
from thenceforward, we say, the Egyptians would not 
borrow of the Israelites, for these two plain and con 
vincing reasons, i. They held the Israelites in the 
greatest contempt, and abhorrence, as SHEPHERDS, 
SLAVES, and ENEMIES, men who had brought a total 
devastation on their Country : and had embraced a Re 
ligion whose Ritual daily treated the Gods of ^Egypt with 
the utmost ignominy and despite ||. But people never 
borrow their religious Rites from those towards whom 
they stand in such inveterate distance. 2. It was part 
of the Religion of the old Egyptians to borrow from 
none*j~: most certainly, not from the Jews. This is 
the account we have, of their natural disposition, from 
those Ancients who have treated of their manners. While, 
on the other hand, we are assured from infallible au 
thority that the Israelites, of the time of Moses, were in 
the very extreme of a contrary humour, and were for 


* See note [PPPP] at the end of this Book, 
f i John vii. 22. See note [QQQQ] at the end of this Book. 
J Exod. xx. 1 1 . And see note [RRPJl] at the end of this Book. 
|| See Spencer, De Leg. Ileb. Kit. vol. i. p. 296, 
1F JEgyptii dctcstari mdentur quicqmd ol yov^ aragg&tfav, parentcs 
non commonstrarunt, Witsii dSgyptiaca, p. (5. Tlal^ourt $1 xgsuptvoi 

6poK7i, aXAov aoEva E7njt]eo>v]a. Herodot. 1. ii. C. 78- EXhyviKoiO-i i 
vo[AOtloK7i <pi/yH<ri p^pacrGar TO $1 a-v^voiv t7reVj jtAJjS 1 AAAfiN MHAAMA 
MHAAMHN u.v$Q<t>iruv v<tyiatoK7*. ol fjitv nvv uhhci Aiyv7jr1o UTU Tyra 
c. 91. * 


BORROWING all they could lay their bands on. This is 
so notorious, that I was surprised to find the learned 
Witsius attempt to prove, that the Egyptians were 
greatly inclined to borrowing*: but much more sur 
prised with his arguments ; which are these, i . Clemens 
Alex, says, that it was the custom of the Barbarians, and 
particularly the Egyptians, to honour their legislators 
and benefactors as Gods. 2. Diodorus Siculus confirms 
this account, where he says, that the Egyptians were 
the most grateful of all mankind to their benefactors. 
And 3. The same historian tells us, that when Egypt 
was become a province to Persia, the Egyptians deified 
Darius, while yet alive ; which honour they never had 
done to any other king -J-. This is the whole of his evi 
dence to prove the Egyptian genius so greatly inclined 
to foreign Rites. Nor should I have exposed the naked 
ness of this learned and honest man, either in this place 
or in any other, but for the use which hath been made 
of his authority ; of which more hereafter. But Witsius, 
and those in his way of thinking, when they talk of the 
Egyptians borrowing Hebrew rites, seem to have enter 
tained a wrong idea of that highly policied People. It 
was not in ancient Egypt, as in ancient Greece, where 


* His words are these : Magna quidcm latcrum coiitcntione rccla- 
mat Doctissiwus Spencerus, prorsusque incredibile essc contendit, con- 
siderato gentis utriusque genio, ut ab Ilebrais ^gyptii in suam tarn 
mult a rciigioncm adsciverint. At quodipsi incredibile -cidetur, id mihi, 
post alias cruditione atque judicio darissimos, pcrquam probabilc est : 
IPSO /EGYPTIOFIUM ID SITADENTE GENIO. In eo quippe procstantissimi 
Auc tores consent inn f, sohtos fuisse JEgyptios maxima eos existimationc 
proscqui, quos sapitntia atque virtutc exccllcntiores ccrnercnt, fy a 
qiiibus se ingcntibus bcncjiciis ajfectos csse memwerant : adeo quidcm 
ut ejusmodi mortalcs, non defunctos sulum, sed fy superstites, pro 
Diis kabtrent. Lib. iii, c. 12. p- -262. 

f Clemens Alexandrians clarum esse dicit, Barbaras eximie semper 
honorasse snos Icgumlatores fy pr&ceptores Deos ipsos appellantes.lnter 
Barbaros antem maxime id pracstiteruut yEgyptii. Quin etiam genus 
JEgyptium diligentissitne illos in Deos retulit. Assentitur Diodorus ; 
JEgyptios denique supra cceteros Mart ales qiticquid benc de ipsis meretur 
grata mtnte prosegui qffirmant. Neque popularibus modo suis atque 
indigenis sed Peregriins Facit hue Darii Persarum regis exemplum, 
quod Diodori iterum verbis exponam. Tandem Darius legibus ^Egyp~ 
tiorum anirnum appulisse dicitur Nam cum Sacerdotibus JEgypti fa- 
miliaritatem iniit, c. Proptcrca tantum honoris comccutus eat, ut 
sitperstcs adlivc Dtii appellationem quod nulli regumaliorum contigit, 
promcruerit. Lib. iii. c. 12. p. 263. * 


every private man, who had travelled for it, found him 
self at liberty to set up what lying vanity he pleased. 
For in that wary Monarchy, Religion was in the hand of 
the magistrate, and under the inspection of the Public : 
so that no private novelties could be introduced, had 
the people been as much disposed, as they were indeed 
averse, to innovations j and that any public ones would 
be made, by rites borrowed from the Hebrews, is, as 
we have shewn above, highly improbable. 

Hitherto I have endeavoured to disci-edit this propo 
sition, (that the Egyptians borrowed of the Israelites) 
from the % nature of the thing. I shall now shew the 
falsehood of it, from the infallible testimony of GOD him 
self : who, upbraiding the Israelites with their borrowing 
idolatrous Rites of all their neighbours, expresses himself 
in this manner, by the prophet Ezekiel : The contrary 
is in thee from other Women, WHEREAS NONE FOL- 
thou gvc-est a reward, and no reward is given to thee, 
therefore thou art contrary *. The intelligent reader 
perceives that the plain meaning of the metaphor is this, 
Ye Jews are contrary to all other nations : you are fond 
of borrowing their Rites, while none of them care to 
borrow yours. But this remarkable fact, had it not been 
so expressly delivered, might easily have been collected 
from the whole course of sacred history. The reason 
will be accounted for hereafter. At present I shall only 
need to observe, that by the words, Whereas nonefol- 
loweth thee to commit whoredoms, is not meant, that no 
particular Gentile ever embraced the Jewish religion ; 
but, that no Gentile people took in any of its Rites into 
their own national Worship. That this is the true sense 
of the passage appears from hence, i . The idolatry of 
the COMMUNITY of Israel is here spoken of: and this, 
as will be shewn in the next book 3 did not consist in re 
nouncing the Religion of Moses, but in polluting it with 
idolatrous mixtures. 2. The embracing the Jewish re 
ligion, and renouncing idolatry, could not, in figurative 
propriety, be called committing whoredom, though pol 
luting the Jewish Rites, by taking them into their own 
superstitions, gives elegance to the figure thus applied. 
* Ezek. xvi. 34. 

VOL. IV. X The 


The Reader, perhaps, may wonder how men can stand 
out against such kind of evidence. It is not, I will assure 
him, from the abundance of argument on the other side; or 
from their not seeing the force on this ; but from a pious, 
and therefore very excusable, apprehension of danger to 
the Divinity of the Law, if it should be once granted that 
any of the Ceremonial part was given in compliance to 
the peoples prejudices. Of which imaginary danger 
lord Bolingbroke hath availed himself, to calumniate 
the Law, for a COMPLIANCE too evident to be denied. 

The apprehension therefore of this consequence being 
that which makes Believers so unwilling to own, and 
Deists, against the very genius of their infidelity, so 
ready to embrace an evident truth ; I seem to come in 
opportunely to set both parties right : while I shew, in 
support of my THIRD PROPOSITION, that the conse 
quence is groundless ; and that the fears and hopes, 
built upon this supposed compliancy are vain and fan 
tastic : which, I venture to predict, will ever be the 
issue of such fears and hopes as arise only from the Reli 
gionist s honest adherence to common sense and to the 
word of God. 


Our THIRD PROPOSITION is, That Moses s Egyptian 
learning, and the Laws he instituted in compliance to the 
Peoples prejudices, and in opposition to Egyptian su 
perstitions, are no reasonable objection to the divinity of 
his mission. 

The first part of the Proposition concerns Moses s 
Egyptian wisdom. Let us previously consider what 
that was. MOSES (says the holy martyr Stephen) was 


and mighty in words and deeds *. Now where the 
WISDOM of a Nation is spoken of, that which is charac 
teristic of the Nation must needs be meant : where the 
wisdom of a particular man, that which is peculiar to his 
quality and profession. St. Stephen, in this place, 
speaks of both. In both, therefore, he must needs mean 
CIVIL or POLITICAL wisdoflij because, for that (as we 
iiave shewn) the Egyptian nation was principally dis 
tinguished : and in that consisted the eminence of cha- 
* Acts vii. 22. 



racter of one who had a royal adoption, was bred up at 
court, and became at length the Leader and Lawgiver 
of a numerous People. More than this, St. Stephen 
is here speaking of him under this public character, and 
therefore he must be necessarily understood to mean, 
That Moses was consummate in the science of Legislation. 
The words indeed are, ALL the learning of the Egyp 
tians. But every good logician knows, that where the 
thing spoken of refers to some particular use (as here, 
Moses s LEARNING, to his CONDUCTING the Israelites 
out of Egypt) the particle ALL does not mean all of 
every kind, but all the parts of one kind. In this re 
strained sense, it is frequently used in the sacred 
Writings. Thus in the Gospel of St. John, JESUS says, 
JVhen he the Spirit of truth is come he mil guide you 
into ALL truth*. But further, the concluding part of 
the character, and mighty in WORDS and DEEDS, will 
not easily suffer the. foregoing part to admit of any other 
interpretation ; J* $i famros i> AOroiS xj t t/ EPFOI2. 
This was the precise character of the ANCIENT CHIEF : 
who, leading a free and willing People, needed the arts 
of peace, such as PERSUASION and LAW-MAKING, the 
AOFOI ; and the arts of war, such as CONDUCT and 
COURAGE, the EPFA in the text. Hence it is, that 
Jesus, who was The Prophet like unto Moses, the Le 
gislator of the new covenant as the other was of the old, 
and the Conductor of our spiritual warfare, is charac 
terized in the same words, ^uvaro? I* EPrih j AOrfli 
wotflw T EOT xj sravjo; T* Aas ~j* . A prophet, mighty 
in DEED tf/w/woRD, before GOD and all the PEOPLE. 
This wisdom, therefore, in which Moses was said to be 
versed, we conclude, was the TO TzrpaJWTixoj/ ry$ ^iXoc-o^/ar, 
in contradistinction to the TO 3-ou1xoV Hence may be 
seen the impertinence of those long inquiries, which, on 
occasion of these words, men have run into, concerning 
the state of the speculative and mechanic arts of Egypt, 
at this period. 

This being the WISDOM, for which Moses is here ce 
lebrated, the Deist hastily concluded, that therefore 
the establishment of the Jewish Policy was the sole con 
trivance of Moses himself , He did not reflect, that a 
* John xvi. 13. t I^ke xxiv. 19. 

x z fundamental 


fundamental truth (which he will not venture to dispute 
any more than the Believer) stands very much in the way 
of his conclusion ; namely. That GOD, in the moral 
government of the world, never does that in an extra 
ordinary way, which can be equally well effected in an 

In the separation of the Israelites, a civil Policy and 
a national Religion were to be established, and incor 
porated with one another, by God himself. For that 
end, he appointed an under-agent, or instrument : who, 
in this work of Legislation, was either to understand the 
government of a People, and so, be capable of com 
prehending the general plan delivered to him by GOD, 
for the erection of this extraordinary Policy : or else he 
was not to understand the government of a People, and 
so, God himself, in the execution of his plan, was, at 
every step, to interfere, and direct the ignorance and 
inability of his Agent. Now, as this perpetual inter 
position might be spared by the choice of an able Leader, 
we conclude, on . the, maxim laid down, that GOD 
would certainly employ such an one in the execution of 
his purpose. 

There was yet another, and that ,110 slight; expediency, 
in such a Leader. The, Israelites were a stubborn 
People, now first forming into Civil government ; greatly 
licentious; and the more so, for their just coming out 
of a state of slavery. Had Moses therefore been so 
unequal to his designation, as to need GOD S direction 
at every turn to set him right, he, would soon have lost 
the authority requisite for keeping an unruly multitude 
in awe; arid have sunk into such contempt amongst 
them, as must have retarded their designed establish 

Eut it will be said, " If there wanted so able a Chief 
at the first setting up of a THEOCRACY, there would 
still be the same want, though ot in an equal degree, 
during the whole continuance of .that divine form of 
government." It is likely there would, because I find,- 
GOD did make a proper provision for it ; first in the 
erection of the SCHOOLS OF THE PKCFHETS : and after- 
war ds, in the establishment of the GREAT SANHEDRIM, 
succeeded them, But sacred history mentioning 



these Schools of the prophets, and the assembly of the 
Seventy elders, only occasionally, the accounts we have 
of both are very short and imperfect. Which is the 
reason why interpreters, who have not well weighed the 
causes of that occasional mention, have suffered them 
selves to be greatly misled by the Rabbins. 

I. The most particular account we have of the School* 
of the prophets is in the first book of Samuel, and on this 
occasion : David, in his escape from the rage of Saul, 
fled to his protector, Samuel, who then presided over a 
School of the prophets, at Naioth in Ramah*. When 
this was told to Saul, he sent messengers in pursuit of 
him -f*. And, on the ill success of their errand, went 
afterwards himself J. But as it was the intent of the 
historian, in this mention of the Schools of the Prophets, 
only to acquaint us with the effect they had on Saul 
and his messengers, when the spirit of GOD came upon 
them, we have only a partial view of these Collegiate 
bodies, that is, a view of them while at their DEVOTIONS 
only, and not at their STUDIES. For Saul and his mes 
sengers coming when the Society was prophesying ||, or 
at divine worship, the spirit of GOD fell upon them, and 
they prophesied also. And thus the Chal. Par. under 
stands prophesying, as did the apostolic writers, who use 
the word in the same sense, of adoring God, and singing 
praises unto him. For we may well suppose these So 
cieties began and ended all their daily studies with this 
holy exercise. 

But from hence, writers of contrary parties have fallen 
into the same strange and absurd opinion ; while they 
imagined that, because these Schools were indeed nur 
series of the Prophets, that therefore they were places 
of instruction for I don t know what kind of ART OF 
PROPHESY. Spinoza borrowed this senseless fancy from 
the Rabbins, and hath delivered it down to his fol 
lowers 5T ; from whence they conclude that PUOHHESY 
was amongst the mechanic arts of the Hebrews. But 
an inquirer of either common sense or common honesty 
would have seen it was a College for the study of the 

* i Sam. xix. 18. f Ver. 21. 

I Ver. 23. || Ver. 20. 

IT See note [SSSS] at the end of this Book. 

x 3 Jewish 


Jewish Law only ; and, as such, naturally and properly, 
a seminary of Prophets. For those who were most 
knowing as well as zealous in the Law, were surely the 
most fit to convey GOD S commands to his People. 

This account of the nature of the Schools of the pro 
phets helps to shew us how it became a proverb in 
which, I apprehend, has been commonly mistaken. The 
proverb was used to express a thing unlocked for and 
unlikely. But surely the spirit of God falling occasionally 
on their supreme Magistrate, at a time when it was so 
plentifully bestowed on private men, could be no such 
unexpected matter to the people ; who knew too, that 
even Idolaters and Gentiles had partaken of it, while 
concerned in matters which related to their Economy. 
But more than this, They could not be ignorant that 
the spirit of God had usually made its abode with Saul ; 
as appears from the following words of the sacred histo 
rian, But the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and 
an veil spirit from the Lord troubled him^. From all 
this I conclude that the people s surprise, which occa 
sioned this proverb, was not because they heard the 
spirit of God had fallen upon him : but a very different 
reason, which I shall now endeavour to explain. 

SAUL, with many great qualities, both of a public 
man and a private, and in no respect an unable Chief, 
was yet so poorly prejudiced in favour of the human 
Policies of the neghbouring Nations, as to become 
impiously cold and negligent in the support and ad 
vancement of the LAW OF GOD ; though raised to 
regal power from a low and obscure condition, for this 
very purpose. lie was, in a word, a mere Politician, 
without the least zeal or love for the divine Constitution 
of his Country. This was his great, and no wonder it 
should prove his unpardonable crime. For his folly had 
reduced things to that extremity, that either He must 
fall, or the Law. Now, this Pagan turn of mind was 
no secret to the People. When, therefore, they were 
told that he had sent frequent messengers to the supreme 
iSchool of the prophets, where zeal for the Law was so 

* i Sam. xix. 24. 

f Clr. xvi. 14. And see note [TTTTJ at the end of this Book. 



eminently professed ; and had afterwards gone himself 
thither, and entered with divine raptures and ecstasy 
into their devotions ; they received this extraordinary 
news with all the wonder and amazement it deserved. 
And, in the height of their surprise, they cried out, Is 
Saul also amongst the prophets ? i. e. Is Saul, who 
throughout his whole reign, hath so much slighted and 
contemned the Law, and would conduct all his actions 
hy the mere rules of human Policy, is he at length be 
come studious of and zealous for the Law of God? And 
the miracle, of such a change in a Politician, brought it 
into a proverb before the mistake was found out. 

This matter will receive farther light from what we 
are told, in the same story, concerning DAVID; a man 
of so opposite a character, with regard to his sentiments 
of the Law, that it appears to have been for this difference 
only that he was decreed by GOD to succeed the other, 
in his kingdom. Now David, the story tells us, sojourned 
for some time in this School. So David fled and escaped, 
and came to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that 
Saul had done to him, and HE AND SAMUEL WENT AND 
DWELT IN NAIOTH*. And here it was, as we may 
reasonably conclude, that he so greatly cultivated and 
improved his natural disposition of love and zeal for the 
Law, as to merit that most glorious of all titles, THE 
MAN AFTER GOD S OWN HEART; for, till now, his way 
of life had been very distant from accomplishments of 
this nature; his childhood and youth were spent in 
the country ; and his early manhood in camps and 
courts -J-. But it is of importance to the cause of truth 
to know, that this CHARACTER was not given him for his 
PRIVATE morals, but his PUBLIC ; his zeal for the ad 
vancement of the glory of the THEOCRACY. This is seen 
from the first mention of him under this appellation, by 
Samuel, who tells Saul But now thy kingdom shall 
not continue. The Lord hath sought him A MAN AFTER 
HIS OWN HEART, and the Lord hath commanded him to 
be Gaptain over his People . And again, God himself 
says, / have chosen Jerusalem that my name might be 

* i Sam. xix. 18. 

t See note [UUUU] at the end of this Book. 

I i Sam. xiii. 14. 

x 4 there, 


there, and have chosen DAVID to be over my people 
Israel *. Here David s vicegerency, we see, is repre 
sented to be as necessary to the support of the Eco 
nomy, as God s peculiar residence in Jerusalem. Con 
formably to these ideas it was, that H.osea, prophesying 
of the restoration of the Jews, makes the God of Israel 
and his Vicegerent inseparable parts of the Economy. 
Afterwards shall the children erf Israel return, and 
seek t he LORD their GOD and DAVID their JJNG |~; 
i. e. they shall have the same zeal for the dispensation 
which king David had; and on account of which 
they shall, ^honour his memory. Now if we would but 
seek for. the reason of this pre-eminence, in David s 
public, not in his private character, we should see it 
afforded no occasion of scandal;]:. His zeal for the 
Law was constantly the same : as is manifest by this 
distinguishing circumstance, that he never fell into Ido 
latry. But the phrase itself, of a man after God s own 
heart y is best explained in the case of Samuel. ELI the 
prophet was rejected, and SAMUEL put in his place just 
in the same manner that DAVID superseded SAUL. On 
this occasion, when God s purpose was denounced to 
Eli,, we find it expressed in the same manner And I 
mil raise me up a faithful priest, THAT SHALL DO 


Wfafll was then in God s heart (to speak in the language 
of humanity) the context tells us, The establishment 
of his Dispensation. Thus, we see, the man after God s 
own htart is the man who seconds God s views in the 
support of the Theocracy. No other virtue was here in 
^question. Though in an indefinite way of speaking, 
where the subject is only the general relation of man to 
God, no one can, indeed, be called a man after God s 
own heart) but he who uses his best endeavours to imi 
tate God s purity as far as miserable humanity will allow, 
in the uniform practice of every virtue. 

By this time, therefore, I presume, the serious Reader 
willie disposed to take for just what it is worth, that re 
fined observation of the noble author of the Character 
istics, where he says, " It is not possible, by the Muses 

* 2 Chron. vi. 6. f lios. iii. 5. 

* See note [XXXX] at the end of this Book. || i Sam. ii. 35- 

" art, 


" art, to make that royal Hero appear amiable in human 
" eyes, who found such favour in the eye of Heaven. 
" Such are mere human hearts, that they can hardly 
cc find the least sympathy with that ONLY ONE which 
" had the character of being after the pattern of the 
u Almighty*." His lordship seems willing to make any 
thing the test of truth, but that only which has a claim 
to it, RIGHT REASON. Sometimes this test is RIDICULE ; 
here, it is the ART OF POETRY it is not possible (says 
he) for the Muses art to make that royal Hero appear 
amiable in human eyes. Therefore, because DAVID \vas 
not a character to be managed by the Poet, for the Hero 
of a fiction, he was not a fit instrument in the hands of 
God, to support a Theocracy : and having nothing 
amiable in the eyes of our noble Critic, there could be 
nothing in him to make him acceptable to his Maker. 
But when classical criticism goes beyond its bounds, it 
is liable to be bewildered : as here. The noble Author 
assures us that David was the only man characterized, to 
be AFTER GOD S OWN HEART, whereas we see the very 
same character is given of Samuel ; and both honoured 
with this glorious appellation fpr the same reason. 

II. As for the GREAT SANHEDIUM, it seems to have 
been established after the failure of Prophecy. And 
concerning the members of this body, the Rabbins tell 
us, there was a tradition, that they were bound to be 
skilled in all sciences y. So far is certain, that they ex 
tended their jurisdiction to the judging of doctrines and 
opinions, as appears by their deputation to JESUS, to 
know by what authority he did his great works. And 
as the address of our blessed Saviour on this occasion 
deserves well to bq illustrated, I shall set down the oc 
currence as it is recorded by St. Matthew: " When 
" he was come into the temple, the chief priests and 
" the elders of the people came unto him as he was 
f( teaching, and said, By what authority dost thoti these 
" things ? And who gave thee this authority? And JESUS 
" answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one 
thing, which if you tell me, I in like wise will tell you 
" by \ylmt authority I do these things. The baptism of 

* Advice to an Author, Sect. 3. vol. i. 
I See Smith s Select Discourses, p. 258. 

" John, 


" John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And 
" they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, 
u From heaven, he will say unto us, Why did ye not 
<c then believe him ? But if we shall say, Of men ; we fear 
f( the people : for all hold John as a prophet. And 
" they answered JESUS, and said, We cannot tell. And 
c{ he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what au- 
" thority I do these things*." We are not to suppose 
this to be a captious evasion of a question made by those 
whose authority he did not acknowledge. On the con 
trary, it was a direct reply to an acknowledged juris 
diction, (as JESUS was obedient to all the institutions of 
his country) convincing them that the question needed 
not, even on the principles of that jurisdiction, any pre 
cise answer. They sent to him to know the authority on 
which he acted. He asks them whether they had yet 
determined of John s : they say, they had not. Then 
replies JESUS, " I need not tell you my authority; 
since the Sanhedrim s not having yet determined of John s, 
shews such a determination unnecessary ; or at least, since 
(both by John s account and mine) he is represented as 
the forerunner of my mission, it is fit to begin with his pre 
tensions first." The address and reasoning of this reply 
are truly divine. 

The foregoing observations concerning this method of 
divine wisdom, in the establishment of the Jewish Theo 
cracy, will be much supported, if we contrast it with 
that which Providence was pleased to take in the pro 
pagation of Christianity. 

The blessed JESUS came down to teach mankind a 
spiritual Religion, the object of each individual as such ; 
and offered to their acceptance on the sole force of its 
own evidence. The Propagators of this religion had no 
need to be endowed with worldly authority or learning ; 
for here was no Body of men to be conducted : nor no 
civil Policy or government to be erected or administered. 
Had JESUS, on the contrary, made choice of the Great 
and Learned for this employment, they had discredited 
their own success. It might have been then objected, 
that the Gospel had made its way by the aid of human 
power or sophistry. To preserve, therefore, the splen- 

* Chap. xxi. 23, seq. 



dour of its evidence unsullied, the meanest and most 
illiterate of a barbarous people were made choice of, for 
the instruments of GOD S last great Revelation to man 
kind : armed with no other power but of Miracles, and 
that only for the credence of their mission ; and with 
no other wisdom but of Truth, and that only to be 
proposed freely to the understandings of Particulars. St. 
Paul, who had fathomed the mysterious depths of divine 
wisdom under each Economy, was so penetrated with 
the view of this last Dispensation, that he breaks out 
into this rapturous and triumphant exclamation, Where 
is the Wise ? Where is the Scribe ? Where is the Dis- 
puter of this world? Hath not God made foolish the 
wisdom of this world * ? 

But further, Divine wisdom so wonderfully contrived, 
that the inability and ignorance of the Propagators of 
Christianity were as useful to the advancement of this 
Religion, as the authority and wisdom of the Leader of 
the Jews were for the establishment of theirs. 

I shall only give one instance out of many which will 
occur to an attentive reader of the Evangelic history. 

When JESUS had chosen these mean and weak instru 
ments of his power, he suffered them to continue in their 
national prejudices concerning his Character ; the nature 
of his kingdom - 3 and the extent of his jurisdiction ; as 
the sole human means of keeping them attached to his 
service, not only during the course of their attendance 
on his ministry, but for some time after his resurrection, 
and the descent of the Holy Ghost upon them; that 
Power which was to lead them into all truth ; but by just 
and equal steps. Let us see the use of this, in the fol 
lowing circumstance : From the order of the whole of 
GOD S Dispensation to mankind, as laid down in Scrip 
ture, we learn, that the offer of the Gospel was to be 
first fairly made to the Jews ; and then afterwards to the 
Gentiles. Now when, soon after the ascension of our 
Lord, the Church was forced, by the persecution of 
the Synagogue, to leave Judea, and to disperse itself 
through all the regions round about ; had the Apostles, 
on this dispersion, been fully instructed in the design of 
GOD to call the Gentiles into his church, resentment for 
* i Cor. i. 20. 



their ill usage within Judea, and the small prospect of 
better success amongst those who were without, v/hicli 
they of Jerusalem had prejudiced against the Gospel, 
would naturally have disposed them to turn immediately 
to the Gentiles. By which means GOD S purpose, with 
out a supernatural force upon their minds, had heen de 
feated ; as so great a part of the Jews would not have 
had the Gospel Jirst preached unto them. But now 
pushed on by this commodious prejudice, that the benefits 
belonged properly to the race of Abraham, they directly 
addressed themselves to their brethren of the dispersion : 
where meeting with the same ill success, their sense of 
the desperate condition of the house of Israel would now 
begin to abate that prejudice in their favour. And then 
came the time to enlighten them in this matter, without 
putting too great a force upon their minds ; which is not 
GOD S way of acting with free agents. Accordingly, his 
purpose of calling the Gentiles into the Church was now 
clearly revealed to PETER at Joppa ; and a proper sub 
ject, wherewith to begin this great work, was ready pro 
vided for him. 

But though ignorance in the Propagator of a divine 
truth amongst particulars, may serve to these important 
ends, yet to shew still plainer how pernicious this inabi 
lity would be wherever a Society is concerned, as in the 
establishment of the Jewish Religion, I shall produce an 
occasional example even in the Christian. 

For when now so great numbers of the Gentiles were 
converted to CHRIST, that it became necessary to form 
them into a Church ; that is, a religious Society ; which 
of course hath its Policy as well as the Civil ; so hurtful 
w^as ignorance in its governing members, that clivers of 
them, though graced with many gifts of the holy Spirit, 
caused such disorders in their assemblies as required all 
the abilities of the LEARNED APOSTLE to reform and 
regulate. And then it was, and for this purpose, that 
PAUL, the proper Apostle of the Gentiles*, was, in an 
extraordinary manner, called in, to conduct, by his 
learning and abilities, and with the assistance of his com 
panion LUKE, a learned man also, this part of GOD S 

* The gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the 
gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter. Gal. ii. 7. 



purpose to its completion. The rest were proper] v 
Apostles of the Jews ; which people having a religious 
Society already formed, the converts from thence had a 
kind of rule to go by, which served them for their pre 
sent occasions; and therefore these needed no <rreat 
talents of parts or learning; nor had they any. But a 
new Society was to be formed amongst the Gentile con 
verts; and this required an able conductor; and such 
an one they had in Paul. But will any one say that his 
learning afforded an objection against the divinity of his 
mission ? We conclude, therefore, that none can arise 
from the abilities, natural and acquired, of the o-reat 
Jewish Lawgiver. The point to be proved. 

II. We come now to the second part of the Propo 
sition, That the Laics instituted in compliance to the 
Peoples prejudices, and in opposition to Egyptian super 
stitions, are no reasonable objection to the divinity of 
the Jewish Religion. That most of these Laws were 
given in opposition to Egyptian superstitions, believers 
seem not unwilling to allow; as apprehending no conse 
quence from such a concession that will give them trou 
ble. The thing which startles them is the supposition 
that some of these Laws were given in compliance to the 
Jewish prejudices; because infidels have inforced this 
circumstance to the discredit of Moses s pretensions. 
To satisfy believers, therefore, I shall shew, " that the 
Laws in compliance were a consequence of the Laws in 
opposition. 9 And to reconcile them to both sorts, I shall 
attempt to prove, from the double consideration, of 
their NECESSITY and FITNESS, that the institution of 
such Laws is no reasonable objection to the divinity of 
their original. 

I. If GOD did indeed interfere in the concerns of this 
People, it will, I suppose, be easily granted, that .his 
purpose was to separate them from the contagion of that 
universal idolatry, which had now overspread the whole 
earth; and to which, especially to the -EGYPTIAN, they 
were most inveterately prone. 

There were two ways, in the hand of GOD, for effect 
ing this separation: either to overrule the Will; and 
this required only the exercise of his power: or, by 



leaving the Will at liberty, to counterwork the passions ; 
and this required the exercise of his WISDOM. 

Now, as all the declared purposes of this separation 
shew, that GOD acted with the Israelites as MORAL 
AGENTS, we must needs conclude, notwithstanding the 
peculiar favour by which they were elected, and the ex 
traordinary providence by which they were conducted, 
that yet, amidst all this display and blaze of almighty 
Power, the WILL ever remained free and uncontrolled. 
This not only appears from the nature of the thins;, but 
from the whole history of their reduction out of Egypt. 
To give only one instance: Moses tells us, that GOD 
led the Israelites into the land of Canaan, not by the 
direct way of the Philistines, lest the sight of danger, in 
an expedition against a strong and warlike People, 
should make them chuse to return to Egypt, and seek 
for refuge in their slavery : But he led them about, by 
the way of the Wilderness, to inure them by degrees to 
fatigue and hardships; the best foundation of military 
prowess*. And when GOD, to punish them for their 
cowardice, on the report of the faithless explorers of the 
land, had decreed that that generation should be worn 
away in the Wilderness f , the w ise policy of this sen 
tence was as conspicuous as the justice of it 

If then the Wills of this people were to be left free, 
and their minds influenced only by working on their pas 
sions, it is evident, that GOD, when he became their 
Lawgiver, would act by the same policy in use amongst 
human Lawgivers for restraining the vicious inclinations 
of the People. The same, I say, in kind, though dif 
fering infinitely in degree. For all People, whether 
conducted on divine or human measures, having the 
same nature, the same liberty of Will, and the same 
terrestrial situation, must needs require the same mode 
of guidance. And, in fact, we find the Jewish to be in 
deed constituted like other Civil governments, with re 
gard to the integral parts of a Political society. 

According to all human conception, therefore, we see 
no way left to keep such a People, thus separated, free 
from the contagion of idolatry, but, 

* Exod. xiii. 17. f Numb. xiii. and xiv. 



First, by severe penal Laws against idolaters ; 

And, Secondly, by framing a multifarious Ritual, 
whose whole direction, looking contrary to the forbidden 
superstitions, would, by degrees, wear out the present 
fondness for them ; and at length bring on an habitual 
aversion to them. This is the way of wise Lawgivers ; 
who, in order to keep the Will from revolting, forbear 
to do every thing by direct force and fear of punish 
ment ; but employ, where they can, the gentler methods 
of restraint. 

Thirdly, but as even in the practice of this gentler 
method, when the passions and prejudices run high, a 
direct and professed opposition will be apt to irritate and 
inflame them ; therefore it will be further necessary, in 
order to break and elude their violence, to turn men s 
fondness for the forbidden practice into a harmless chan 
nel ; and by indulging them in those customs, which 
they could not well abuse to superstition, enable the 
more severe and opposite institutions to perform their 
work. Such, for instance, might be the Lighting up of 
lamps in religious Worship : which practice, Clemens 
Alexandrinus assures us, came first from the Egyptians* 1 : 
nor would Witsius himself venture to deny it f. But, 
for the same reason, we conclude that the brazen ser 
pent was no imitation of an Egyptian practice, as Sir 
J. Marsham would persuade us ; because we see how 
easily it might, and did suffer abuse. Which conclusion, 
not only our principle leads us to make, but matter of 
fact enables us to prove J. 

Such a conduct therefore as this, where the Will is 
left free, appears to be NECESSARY. 

II. Let us see next whether it were FIT, that is, 
Whether it agreed with the wisdom, dignity, and purity 
of GOD. 

i. His WISDOM indeed is the Attribute peculiarly 
manifested in this method of government; and certainly 
with as great lustre as we should have seen his POWER, 

urot" Kotriot^otv. Strom. 1. i. p. 306. 
Edit. Colon. 1688. fol. 

f Earum [lucernarum] prim a ad religionem accensio, utrum He- 
braeis debeatur, an yRgyptiis, baud facile dixero. ./Egypt. p. 190. 

I See above. 


320 THE DIVINE LEGATION [Bookl\ r . 

had it been his good pleasure to have overruled^ the 
Will. To give an instance only in one particular, most 
liable to the ridicule of unbelievers; I mean,, in that 
part of the Jewish Institute which concerns dean and 
umkan meats ; and descends to so low and minute a 
detail, that men, ignorant of the nature and end of this 
regulation, have, on its apparent wrfitness to engage the 
concern of GOD, concluded against the divine original 
of the Law. But would they" reflect, that the purpose 
of separating one People from the contagion of universal 
idolatry, and this, in order to facilitate a still greater 
good, was a design not unworthy the Governor of the 
Universe, they would see this part of the Jewish Insti 
tution in a different light: They would see the brightest 
marks of divine wisdom in an injunction which took away 
the very grounds of all commerce with foreign Nations. 
For those who can neither eat nor drink together, are 
never likely to become intimate. This will open to us 
the admirable method of divine Providence in PETER S 
vision. The time vvas now come that the Apostle should 
be instructed in GOD S purpose of calling the Gentiles 
into the Church : At the hour of repast, therefore, he 
had a scehical representation of all kind of meats, clean 
and unclean ; of which lie was bid to take and eat indif 
ferently and without distinction*. The primary design 
of tmVvision, as appears by the context, was to inform 
him that th partition-wall was now broken down, and 
that the Gentiles were to be received into the Church of 
CHRIST. But besides its figurative meaning, it had a 
literal; and signified, that the distinction of MEATS, as 
well as of MEN, was now to be abolished. And how 
necessary such an information was, when lie was about 
to go upon his mission to the Gentiles, avid was to con 
ciliate their benevolence and good-will, I have observed 
above. But although this was the principal cause of 
the distinction of meats into clean and unclean, yet an 
other was certainly for the preservation of health. This 
institution was of necessity to be observed in the first 
case, to secure the great object of : a separation : and in 
the second case (which is no trivial mark of the wisdom 
of the Institutor) it might be safely and commodiously 

* .Acts x. 10, et seq. 



observed by a People thus separated, who were conse 
quently to be for ever confined within the limits of one 
country. And here the absurdity of this part of Maho- 
metanism evidently betrays itself. Mahomet would 
needs imitate the Law of Moses, as in other things, so 
in this the distinction of meats, clean and unclean with 
out considering that in a Religion formed for conquest, 
whose followers were to inhabit Regions of the most 
different and contrary qualities, the food which in one 
climate was hurtful or nutritive, in another changed its 
properties to their contraries. But to shew still more 
clearly the difference between Institutions formed at 
hazard, and those by divine appointment, we may ob 
serve, that w r hen Judaism arrived at its completion in 
Christianity, the followers of which were the inhabitants 
of all Climes, the distinction between meats clean and 
unclean was abolished ; which, at the same time, serv 
ing other great ends explained above, shew the Dispen 
sation (in the course of which these several changes of 
the Economy took place) to be really Divine. 

2. As to the DIGNITY and Majesty of GOD, that, 
surely, does not suffer, in his not interfering with his 
power, to force the Will, but permitting it to be drawn 
and inclined by those cords of a man, his natural mo 
tives. The dignity of any Being consists in observing a 
conformity between his actions, and his quality, or sta 
tion. Now it pleased the GOD of heaven to take upon 
himself the office of supreme Magistrate of the Jewish 
Republic. But it is (as we have shewn) the part of a 
wise Magistrate to restrain a People, devoted to any 
particular superstition, by a Ritual directly opposite in 
the general to that superstition ; and yet similar in such 
particular practices as could not be abused or perverted : 
because compliance with the popular prejudices in things 
indifferent, naturally eludes the force of their propensity 
to things evil. In this wise Policy, therefore, the dig 
nity of the GOD of heaven was not impaired. 

3. Nor is his PURITY any more affected by this sup 
posed conduct. The Rites, in question, are owned to- 
be, in themselves, indifferent; and good or evil only asr 
they are directed to a true or false object. 

If it be said " that their carnal nature, or wearisome" 
VOL. IV. Y multi- 


multiplicity, or scrupulous observance, render them un 
worthy of the purity and spiritual nature of GOD :" To 
Believers, I reply, that this objection holds equally 
against these Rites in whatever view they themselves are 
wont to regard them: To Unbelievers; that they for 
get, or do not understand GOD S primary end, in the 
institution of the Jewish Ritual ; which was, to preserve 
the people from the contagion of these idolatrous prac 
tices with which they were surrounded. But nothing 
could be so effectual to this purpose, as such a Ritual. 
And since the continual proneness of that People to 
idolatry hath been shewn to arise from the inveterate 
prejudice of intercommunity of worship, nothing could 
be so effectual as the extreme minuteness of their 

If it be said, " that the former abuse of these in* 
dulged Rites to an abominable superstition had made 
them unfit to be employed in the service of the GOD of 
purity :" I reply, that there is nothing in the nature of 
things, to make them unfit. That a material substance, 
materially soiled, stained, and infected, is unfit to ap 
proach and be joined to one of great cleanness and pu 
rity, is not to be denied. But let us not mistake words 
for things ; and draw a metaphysical conclusion from a 
metaphorical expression. The soil and stain, in the 
case before us, is altogether figurative, that is, unreal. 
And in truth, the very objection is taken from the com 
mand of this very Law, to abstain from things polluted 
by idolatry : But we now understand, that the reason of 
its so severely forbidding the use of some things that 
had been abused to superstition, was the very same with 
its indulging the use of others which had been equally 
abused; namely, to compass, by the best, though dif 
ferent yet concording means, that one great end , the 
EXTIRPATION OF IDOLATRY, Notwithstanding this, 
the Law concerning things polluted, like many other of 
the Jewish observances, hath occasionally been adopted 
by different Sects in the Christian church. Thus our 
PURITANS, who seem to have had their name from the 
subject in debate, quarrelled with the established use of 
the cross in baptism, the surplice, and the posture of 
communicating, because they had been abused to the 



support of popish superstition*. I chuse this instance, 
that the Men whom I am arguing against, may see the 
issue of their objection ; and that They, from whom the 
instance is taken, may be shewn the unreasonableness 
of their separation ; as far at least as it was occasioned 
on account of ceremonies. 

If, lastly, it be said, " that these Rites, which once 
had been, might be again, abused to superstition; and 
were therefore be employed in this new 7 service;" 
I reply, that this is a mistake. For, i. We go on the 
supposition, that the Jews were indulged in no practices 
capable of being so abused. 2. That though they might 
in themselves be subject to abuse, yet they carried their 
corrective with them : which was, first, their being in 
termixed with a vast number of other Rites directly op 
posite to all idolatrous practice; and, secondly, their 
making part of a burdensome multifarious Worship, 
which would keep the people so constantly employed, as 
to afford them neither time nor occasion, from the cause 
in question, of falling into foreign idolatries. 

But how can I hope to be heard in defence of this 
conduct of the GOD of Israel^ when even the believing 
part of those whom I oppose seem to pay so little atten 
tion to the reasoning of JESUS himself; who has admi 
rably illustrated and vindicated the wisdom of this 
conduct, in the familiar parable of new cloth in old gar 
ments, and new wine in old bottles -(* : which, though 
given in answer to a particular question, \vas intended to 
instruct us in this general truth, That it is the way of 
God to accommodate his Institutions to the state, the 
condition, and contracted habits, of his creatures. 

But as this notion hath been condemned ex cathedra + ; 
and the JEgyptiaca of HERMAN WITSIUS recommended 
to the clergy, as a distinct and solid confutation of 
Spencer s book, de legibus Hebrtforum ritualibus \ I shall 

* See note [YYYY] at the end of this Book. 

t And he spake also a parable unto them, No man putteth a piece of 
a new garment upon an old: if otherwise, then both the new makcth a 
rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new, agreeth not with the 
old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles, else the new wine 
will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. 
Luke v. 36. 

I Water-land s Charge to the Clergy of Middlesex. 

Y 2 examine 


examine what that learned Foreigner hath to say against 
it. All Witsius s reasoning on this point is to be found 
in the fourteenth chapter of his third hook ; which I 
shall endeavour to pick out, and set in the fairest 

i . His first argument is, " that it is a dishonouring 
of GOD, who has the hearts of men in his power, and 
can turn them as he pleases, to conceive of him as 
standing in need of the tricks of crafty Politicians ; not 
but, he confesses, that GOD deals with men as rea 
sonable creatures, and attains his end by fit and adequate 
means ; and, in the choice of these means, manifests a 
wisdoii) perfectly admirable." Yet, for all this, he says, 
" we cannot, without the highest contumely, presume 
to compare the sacred Policy of Heaven with the arts 
and shifts of the beggarly politics of this world *." All 
I find here is only misrepresentation. Spencer never 
compared the wisdom of GOD, in the institution of the 
Jewish republic, to the tricks and shifts of politicians ; 
but to their legitimate arts of Government, conducted 
on the rules of strict morality. And if, as this writer 
owns, GOD dealt with the Israelites as reasonable crea- 
iures, and attained his end by jit and adequate meam, 
he must needs use a wisdom the same in kind, though 
vastly different in degree, with what we call human 
policy. .But indeed, he seems reconciled to the thing : 
it is the name only which he dislikes. If his followers 
say otherwise, I desire they would explain, in some in 
telligible manner, their idea of that wisdom, in GOD S 
civil government of a people, which is not founded in the 

* Verum enimvero quantamcunque hcec civilis prudentiie. speciem 
habeant, prater Dei verbnm cuuetu dicuntur, & human! commeuU 
suntingemi, divini numinis maj estate haud satis digna. Nimirum 
cauti catique in seculo mortales Deum ex sua metiuntur indole : 
arcanasque imperandi artes, & vaframenta politicorum, qua? vix 
terra probet, ccelo locant. Quasi vero in papula sibi formando fir- 
mandoque iis astutiarum ambtigibus indigeat is, qui, mortalium corda 
in mauu sua habeas, ea, quorsum vult, flee tit. Non nego equidem 
Deum cum hominibus, uti cum creaturis rationalibus, agentem, 
media adhibere iis persuaderidis idonea, inque eorum mediorum delectu 
sapientiam ostendere prorsus admirabilem. Attamen Dei sanccissima 
ista supientia cum politicorum astibus ac vafritie comparari sine 
insigni illius contumelia non potest. p. 282. 



exercise of almighty power, and is yet different in kind 
from what we call Policy. 

2. His second argument is, " That, as GOD erected 
a new Republic, it was his will that it should appear new 
to the Israelites. Its structure was not to he patched up 
out of the rubbish of the Canaanitish or Egyptian Rites, 
but was formed according to the model brought down 
from heaven, and shewn to Moses in the Mount. Nor 
was it left to the people to do the least thing in religious 
matters, on their own head. All was determinately or 
dered, even to the most minute circumstance; which 
was so bound upon them, that they could not do, or 
omit, any the least thing contrary to the Law, without 
becoming liable to immediate punishment *." If, by 
this NEWNESS of the Jewish Republic, be meant, that 
it was different in many fundamental circumstances from 
all other civil policies, so as to vindicate itself to its divine 
Author ; I not only agree with him, but, which is more 
than he and his recommender could do, have proved it. 
But this sense makes nothing to the point in question. If 
by NEWNESS be meant, that it had nothing in common 
with any of the neighbouring Institutions ; To make this 
credible, he should have proved that GOD gave them new 
hearts, new natures, and a new world, along with their 
new Government. There is the same ambiguity in what 
he says of the appearance of newness to the Israelites. 
For it may signify either that the Institution appeared so 
new as to be seen to corne from GOD ; or that it ap 
peared so new as not to resemble, in any of its parts; 
the Institutions of men. The first is true, but not to 
the purpose : the latter is to the purpose, but not true. 
From the fact, of the Law s coming down entire from 
heaven, he concludes that the genius and prejudices of 
the Israelites were not at all consulted : From the same 

* Uti revera novam moliebatur rempublicam, ita et novam, qualis 
crat, videri earn Israelites voluit. Quippe cujus forma sive species, 
not; ex rituum ruderibus Canaaniticorum a-ut ^Egyptiacorum efficta, 
sed ccelitus delapsa, Mosi primum in sacro monstrata moute erat, ut 
ad illud instar cuncta in Israele componerentur. Neque permissum 
csse populo voluit, ut in religionis ncgotio vel tantilluni suo age ret 
arbitr. itu. Omnia determinavit ipse, ad minutissimas usque circum- 
stantias; quibus ita eos alligavit, ut non sine praesentaneo vita? 
discrimine quicquam vel omittere, vel aliter agere pbtuerint. 
p. 282, 283. 

y 3 fact, 


fact, I conclude, that they were consulted : which of us 
has concluded right is left to the judgment of the 
public. Let me only ohserve, That ignorant men may 
compose, arid have composed Laws in all things opposite 
to the bent and genius of a people ; and they have been 
obeyed accordingly. But, when divine wisdom frames 
tin Institution, we may be sure that no sucli solecism as 
that of putting new wine into old bottles will ever be com 
mitted. But the people were not consulted even in the 
least thing that concerned religious matters. How is 
this to be reconciled with their free choice of GOD for 
their King; and with his indulgence of their impious 
clamours afterwards for a Vicegerent or another king? 
This surely concerned religious matters, and very ca 
pitally too, in a Policy where both the Societies were 
perfectly incorporated. But every thing was determined 
even to the most minute circumstances, and to be observed 
under the severest penalties. What this makes for his 
point, I see not. But this I see, that, if indeed there 
were that indulgence in the Law which I contend for, 
these two circumstances of minute prescription, and 
severe penalties, must needs attend it : and for this plain 
reason; Men, when indulged in their prejudices, are 
very apt to transgress the bounds of that indulgence ; it 
is therefore necessary that those bounds should be mi 
nutely marked out, and the transgression of them severely 

3. His third argument is " That no religious Rites, 
formerly used by the Israelites, on their own head, were, 
after the giving of the law, PERMITTED, out of regard 
to habitude ; but all things PRESCRIBED and COM 
MANDED : and this so precisely, that it was unlawful 
to deviate a finger s breadth either to the right hand or 
to the left *," This indeed is an observation which I 
cannot reconcile to the learned writer s usual candour 
and ingenuity. He is writing against Spencer s system : 
and here he brings an argument against it, which he saw 

* Nee ulli in religione ritus fuerunt, ah Israelites olim sine numine 
usurpati, quibus propter assuetudineni ut in posierum quoque uterentur 
lege lata pt rmisit : sed przescripi djussaque sunt omnia. Et quidem 
ita distincte, utnec transversum digitum dextrorsum aut sinistrprsum 
.declinare fas fuerit. Deut. v. p. 283. 



in Spencer s book had been brought against Grotius (who 
was in that system), and which Spencer answers in de 
fence of Grotius. Therefore, as this answer will serve 
in defence of Spencer himself against Witsius, I shall 
give it at at the bottom of the page *. For the rest, I 
apprehend all the force of this third argument to lie only 
in a quibble on the equivocal use of the word PERMISSION, 
which signifies either a tacit connivance, or legal allow 
ance. Now Spencer used the word in this latter sense f. 
But permission, in this sense, is very consistent with 
every thing s being expressly prescribed and commanded 
in the law. 

4. His fourth argument proceeds thus, cc But farther, 
God neither permitted nor commanded, that the Israelites 
should worship him after the Pagan mode of worship. 
For it had been the same thing to GOD not to be wor 
shipped at all, as to be worshipped by Rites used in the 
service of Demons. And Moses teaches us that the 
Laws of God were very different from what Spencer 
imagined; as appears from Deut. xii. 30, 31, 32. and 
from Lev. xviii. 2, 3, 4. Here the reason given of for 
bidding the vanities of Egypt, is, that Jehovah, who 

* Testium meorum agmen claudit Grotius Authoris verba sunt 
haec : " &icut fines sacrjficiorum diversi sunt, ita ft ritus, qui aut 
" ab Hcbr&is ad alias gcntes venere, nut, quod credibilius est, a Syris 
$ JEgyptiis murpati, correcti sunt <ib Hebrceis, fy ab aliis gentibus 
sine ea emcndatione vrsurpati. Hie in Grotium paulo animosius 
insurgit auctor nuptrus : nam hoc, ait Hie, cum impittate ft fl6- 
surditate conjunct urn Quid ita ? Num enim, respondet ille, 
Deum sanctissima sua instituta, quce ipse prolixe sancivit, et conscribi 
in religiosam observationem, per inspirationem nu minis sui, voluit 
crfdcmus ab idolatria Syrorum $ JEgyptiorum mutuo sumpsisse f 
Neque ea pro libitu Ebrcei assumpserunt, aut assumpta emendarunt, 
sed omnia ft singula divinitus in lege prcescripta sunt, et juxta ejut 
normam exact issime obscrvari dcbuennit." At opinio Grotii multo 
solidior est, quam ut mucrone tarn obtuso confodi possit. Non enim 
assent ille, vel sanus quispiam, Hebrseos ritum ullum a gentibus, 
pro libitu suo, sumpsisse, vei sumptum pro ingenio suo correxisse. 
Id unum sub locutione figurata, contendit Grotius, Deum nempe 
ritus aliquos, usu veteri confirmatos (emendatos tamen, et ignem 
quasi purgatorium passes) a gentibus accepisse, et Hebrceis usur- 
pandos tradidisse ; ne populus ille, rituum ethnicorum amore praeceps, 
ad culturn et superstitionem Gentilium rueret, ni more plurimuni 
veteri cultum praestare concederetur. De Leg. Heb. rit. vol. ii. 
p. 748, 749. 

t See note [ZZZZ] at the end of this Book. 

Y 4 brought 


brought them out from amongst that people, will, from 
henceforth, allow no farther communication with Egypt. 
Small appearance of any indulgence. And hence indeed 
it is, that most of the ritual Laws are directly levelled 
against the Egyptian, Zabian, q.nd Canaanitish super 
stitions, as Maimonides confesseth V As to what this 
learned man says, that we may as well not worship GOD 
at all as worship him by Rites which have been employed 
in Paganism, we have already overturned the foundation 
of that fanatical assertion. It is true, the argument 
labours a little in the hands of SPENCER and MAIMO 
NIDES; while they suppose the Devil himself to be the 
principal Architect of Pagan Superstition: for to believe 
that GOD would employ any Rites introduced by this 
evil Spirit is indeed of somewhat hard digestion. But 
that writer, who conceives them to be the inventions of 
superstitious and designing men only, hath none of this 
difficulty to encounter. As for the observation, that 
most oj the ritual Laics were levelled against idolatrous 
superstition, we are so far from seeing any inconsistency 
between this truth and that other, " that some of those 
ritual Laics did indulge the people in such habituated 
practices, as could not be abused to superstition," that, 
on the contrary, w^e see a necessary connexion between 
them. For if severe Laws were given to a people against 
superstitions, to which they -were violently bent, it would 
be very proper to indulge them in some of their favourite 
habits, so far forth as safely they could be indulged, in 
order to break the violence of the rest, and to give the 

* POITO nec permisit, necjussit Deus, ut eo se modo Israelite 
colerent, quo modo Deos suos colebai.t Gentiles ; veritus scilicet ne 
per veteres istas vanitates Dzemoni cultum deferrent, si minus Deo 
licuisset. Nam et inanis ille metus erat : quum Deo propemodum 
perinde sit, sive quis Dsemoui cultum deferat, sive per vanitates 
aliquas veteres Deo cullum deiene.praesumat. Kt longe aliterDeum 
instituisse Moses docet, Deut. xiii. 30, 31, 32. adde Levit. xviii. 
2, 3, 4. Audin , Spencere, qua ratione ab /Egyptians vanitatibus 
ad suorum obseivantiam prceceptorum Israclitas Deus avocet ? Eo id 
fuc it nomine, quod ipse Jehova et Deus ipsorum sit, qui ex ^Egypto 
eos eripiens nihil pcsthac cum /Egyptioium vanitatibus commune 
habere yoluit. Hoc profecto nun est, id quod tu dicis, allicere eos 
per umbratiles veterum ^gypti rituam reliquias. Atque hinc fact urn 
est ut plurima legibus snis ritualibus inseruerit, ^Egyptiorum, 
Zabiorum, Canaanacorum institutis Ix <Brctgafafaa opposite- Cuju&rei 
varia a nobis exempla alibi allata sunt. p. 283, 284. 



body of opposed Laws a fuller liberty of working their 
effect. And if they had Laws likewise given them in 
indulgence, it would be necessary to accompany such 
Laws with the most severe prohibitions of idolatrous 
practice, and of the least deviation from a tittle of the 
Institute. In a word, Laws in direct opposition, and 
Laws in conformity or compliance, had equally, as we 
say, the same tendency, and jointly concurred to promote 
the same end ; namely, the preservation of the Israelites 
from idolatry *. 

5. His fifth argument runs thus, " Indulgence was 
so far from being the end of the Law, that the Ritual 
was given as a most heavy yoke, to subdue and conquer 
the ferocity of that stiff-necked people, Gal. iv. i, 2, 3. 
Col. ii. 2 1 -f / By this one would imagine, his adversaries 
had contended for such a kind of indulgence as arose 
out of GOD S fondness fora chosen People; when indeed, 
they suppose it to be only such an indulgence as tended 
the more effectually and expeditiously to subdue and con 
quer the ferocity of their savage tempers : 

----- Qitos optimus 
Fuller 8$ effugere est triumphus. 

If, therefore, that were the END of the Law which 
Witsius himself contends for, we may be assured that 
this indulgence was one of the MEANS. But the prin 
cipal and more general means being Laws in direct op 
position, this justified the character the Apostle gives 
of the Jewish Ritual, in the two places urged against us. 

6. His sixth argument is, " That the intent of the 
Law was to separate the Israelites, by a partition- wall, 
as it were, from all other people, which, by its diversity, 
might set them at a distance from idolaters, and create 
an aversion to idolatry ." As to the first effect of the 

* See note [AAAAA] at the end of this Book. 

f Id sibi priinum in rituum jussione propositum habuit Deus, ut 
laboriosis istis exercitiis/croa tfw populi indomitam, veluti dijficillimo 
j-ugo, s-ubigeret, Gal. iv. i, 2, 3. Col. ii. 21. p. 286. 

J Deinde haec quoque Dei in rituum jussione intentio fuit, ut eorum 
obscrvantia, veluti pariete intergerino, eos a gentium communione 
louge semoveret, Epti. ii. 14, 15. Quum autem legem pr<eceptorum 
in ritibus inimicitias Apostolus vocat, hoc inter cetera innuit, fuisse 
earn symbolum atque instrumentum divisionis atq.ue odii inter 
Israelem & gentes. p. 287, 288. 



diversity of the Jewish Law, the keeping the people 
distinct ; if the learned writer would thereby insinuate 
(which is indeed to his point) that this distinction could 
be kept up only while the Jews and other nations had 
no similar Rites ; it could never, even by the means he 
himself prescribes, be long kept up at all. For if the 
Jews were not indulged in the imitation of any Pagan 
Rites, the Pagans might indulge themselves in the imi 
tation of the Jewish : as indeed they are supposed to have 
done in the practice of CIRCUMCISION : and so this par 
tition-wall, if only built of this untempered mortar of 
Witsius s providing, would soon tumble of itself. But 
the very case here given shews no necessity for ALL the 
laws to be in opposition, in order to secure a separation ; 
the Jews being as effectually separated from all their 
neighbours when most of them used the rite of circum- 
cision, as when these Jews practised it without a rival. 
And the reason is this, CIRCUMCISION w<as not given 
to Abraham and to his race as a mark of distinction and 
separation from all other people, but, what its constant 
use made it only fit for, a standing memorial of the co 
venant between GOD and Abraham. And ye shall cir 
cumcise (says God) the flesh of your foreskin, and it 
shall be a TOKEN OF THE COVENANT between me and 
you. Gen. xvii. 1 1 . But though it was not given as a 
mark of separation, yet it effectually answered that pur 
pose : for it preserved the memory, or was the token, of 
a covenant, which necessarily kept them separate and 
distinct from the rest of mankind. As to the other effect 
of this diversity of the Jewish Law, namely the creating 
an aversion to the Rites of all other nations ; in this, the 
learned writer hath betrayed his ignorance of human 
nature. For we always find a more inveterate hatred 
and aversion, between people of differing Religions where 
several things are alike, than where every thing is dia 
metrically opposite : of which a plain cause might be 
found in the nature of man, whose heart is so much cor 
rupted by his passions. So that the retaining some 
innocent Egyptian practices, all accompanied with their 
provisional opposites, would naturally make the Jews 
more averse to Egypt, than if they had differed in every 
individual circumstance. 

7. His 


7. His last argument concludes thus, <c The cere 
monies of the Jewish Ritual were types and shadows of 
heavenly things : It is therefore highly improbable that 
GOD should chuse the impious and diabolic Sacra of 
Egypt, and the mummery of Magic practices, for the 
shadows of such holy and spiritual matters *." Thus he 
ends, as he began, with hard words and soft arguments. 
No one ever pretended to say that such kinds of practices 
were suffered or imitated in the Jewish Ritual. All the 
indulgence supposed, is of some harmless Rite or innocent 
Ornament, such as the lighting up of Lamps, or wearing 
a Linen garment. And let me ask, whether these things, 
though done, as we suppose, in conformity to an Egyptian 
practice, were more unfit to be made a type or shadow 
of heavenly things, than the erection of an altar without 
steps ; done, as they will allow, in direct opposition to 
Pagan practice. But it will be shewn under the next 
head, that the supposition that the Jewish Ritual was 
framed, partly in compliance to the people s prejudices, 
and partly in opposition to idolatrous superstitions, and, 
at the same time, typical of a future Dispensation, tends 
greatly to raise and enlarge our ideas of the divine 

But it is strange, that such a writer as WITSIUS 
(whatever we may think of the admirers of his argument) 
should not see, that the character given of the RITUAL 
LAW by God himself did not imply that it had a mixture 
at least of no better stuff than Egyptian and other Pagan 

GOD, by the prophet EZEKIEL, upbraiding the Is 
raelites with their perversity and disobedience, from the 
time of their going out of Egypt to their entrance into 
the land of Canaan, speaks to them in this manner. 

Ver. i. " And it came to pass in the seventh year, 
" in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that 
" certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the 
" Lord, and sat before me. 

* Denique & hie caerimoniarum scopus fuit, ut rerum spiritualium 
figurce atque umbrce essent, & exstaret in iis artificiosa pictura Ckristi, 
ac gratiaa ipsum impetrandae Non est autem probabile, Deum 
ex impiis JEgyptiorum ac diabolicis sacris, ex veteribus vanitatibus, 
ex magicae artis imitamentis, picturas fecisse rerum spiritualium 
atque calestium. p, 289. 

" 2. Then 


2. " Then came the word of the Lord unto me, saying, 

3. " Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and 
" say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God ; Are ye 
" come to inquire of me? As I live, saith the Lord God, 
" I will not be inquired of by you. 

4. " Wilt thou judge them, son of man, wilt thou 
" judge them ? cause them to know the abominations of 
" their fathers ; 

5. " And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God ; 
" In the day when I chose Israel, and lifted up mine 
" hand unto the seed of the house of Jacob, and made 
" myself known unto them in the land of Egypt, when 
" I lifted up mine hand unto them, saying, I am the 
" Lord your God, 

6. " In the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them, 
" to bring them forth of the land of Egypt, into a land 
" that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and 
" honey, which is the glory of all lands : 

7. " Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man 
" the abominations of his eyes, and defile not your- 
" selves with the idols of Egypt: I am the Lord your 

8. " But they rebelled -against me, and would not 
4< hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away 
" the abominations of their eyes, neither did they for- 
" sake the idols of Egypt : then I said, I will pour out 
" my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against 
" them, in the midst of the land of Egypt. 

9. " But I wrought for my name s sake, that it should 
" not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they 
u were, in whose sight I made myself known unto 
" then), in bringing them forth out of the land of 
" Egypt. 

10. " Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of 
" the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wil- 
" derness. 

11. " And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them 
1 my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live 


f Moreover also, I gave them my sabbaths to 
; n between me and them, that they might know 
u.m the Lord that sanctify them. 

13. " But 


13. " But the house of Israel rebelled against me in 
" the wilderness ; they walked not in my statutes, and 
" they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he 
" shall even live in them ; and my sabbaths they greatly 
" polluted : then I said, I would pour out my fury upon 
" them in the wilderness to consume them. 

14. " But I wrought for my name s sake, that it 
l( should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose 
" sight I brought them out. 

15. " Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the 
" wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land 
cf which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, 
" which is the glory of all lands ; 

16. " Because they despised my judgments, and 
" walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths : 
" for their heart went after their idols. 

1 7. " Nevertheless, mine eye spared them from de- 
cc s troy ing them, neither did I make an end of them in 
" the wilderness. 

18. " But I said unto their children in the wilderness, 
" Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither 
" observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with 
" their idols. 

19. "I am the Lord your God ; walk in my statutes, 
" and keep my judgments, and do them ; 

20. " And hallow my sabbaths ; and they shall be a 
" sign between me and you, that ye may know that I 
am the Lord your God. 

21. " Notwithstanding the children rebelled against 
tl me : they w r alked not in my statutes, neither kept my 
l judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall 
" even live in them ; they polluted my sabbaths : then 
(( I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to acr 
" complish my anger against them in the wilderness. 

22. Nevertheless, I withdrew mine hand, and wrought 
" for my name s sake, that it should not be polluted in 
u the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought 
t them forth. 

23. cc I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the 
" wilderness, that I would scatter them among thej 
(C heathen, and disperse them through the countries^ 

24. " Because they had not executed my judgments, 

" but 


" but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my 

" sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers idols. 




26. " And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that 
ft they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth 
" the womb, that 1 might make them desolate, to the 
" end that they might know that I am the Lord*." 

Could the Prophet have possibly given a plainer or 
more graphical description of the character and genius 
of the RITUAL LAW, than in those last words? Yet to 
suit it to theologic purposes, System-makers have en 
deavoured, in their usual manner, to interpret it away \ 
as if it only signified GOD S suffering the Israelites to fall 
into idolatry. Now if it were not indulged to these men 
to make use of any arms they can catch hold of, one 
should be a little scandalized to find that they had bor 
rowed this forced interpretation from the RABBINS ; who 
holding their Law to be perfect, and of eternal obliga 
tion, were indeed much concerned to remove this op 
probrium from it. Kimchi is recorded for his dexterity 
in giving it this meaning : though done with much more 
caution than the Christian writers who took it from him. 
Pie supposed that the statutes not good were the Tri 
butes imposed on the Israelites while in subjection to 
their Pagan neighbours. And this lakes off" something 
from the unnatural violence of the expression, of 
GIVING STATUTES, when understood only to signify 
the permission of abusing their free-will, when they fell 
into idolatry. 

Now, because the right explanation and proper in- 
forcement of this famous passage will, besides its use in 
the present argument, serve for many considerable pur 
poses, in the sequel of this work, it may not be time 
mispent to expose this spurious pilfered interpretation. 
And, as the last inforcer of it, and the most satisfied 
with his exploit, the late Author of the Connections be 
tween Sacred and Profane History, takes the honour of 
it to himself, I shall examine his reasoning at large. 

Dr. Spencer, and (I suppose) every capable judge 
* Chap. xx. ver. i 26. inclusive. 



before him, understood the statutes and judgments in 
the eleventh verse, to signify the MORAL law; and the 
statutes and judgments in the twenty-fifth verse, to sig 
nify the RITUAL. But Dr. Shuckford, who always 
takes a singular pleasure in carping at that faithful Ser 
vant of Common-sense, directs the defence of his bor 
rowed novelty, against the great Author of the Reasons 
of the Ritual Law, in the following manner a The 
persons spoken of, who had the statutes given to them, 
which were not good, were not that generation of men 
to whom the whole Law was given, but their children 
or posterity. To this posterity, God made no additions 
to his laws ; the whole being completed in the time of 
their forefathers. Therefore all he GAVE to them of 
statutes not good was the PERMISSION of falling into the 
Pagan idolatries round about*." This, I believe, his 
followers will confess to be his argument, though repre 
sented in fewer words, yet with greater force : for a per 
plexed combination of needless repetitions, which fill 
two or three large pages, have much weakened and ob 
scured his reasoning- 


However, it concludes in these very terms : " And 
" thus it must be undeniably plain, that the Prophet 
" could not, by the statutes not good, mean any part 
" of the Ritual law : for the whole Law was given to 
" the fathers of those whom the Prophet now speaks 
"of; but these statutes were not given to the fathers, 
" but to the descendants. If we go on, and compare 
" the narrative of the Prophet with the history of 
" the Israelites, we shall see further, that the sta- 
" tutes and judgments not good are so far from being 
* any part of Moses s law, that they were not given 
<c earlier than the times of the Judges f ;" /. e. the Is 
raelites then fell into the idolatries, here called (as this 
learned interpreter will have it) statutes and judgments 


And now, to canvass a little this decisive argument 
THUS (says he) it must be undeniably plain Thus! that 
is, Grant him his premisses, and the conclusion follows. 
Without doubt. But the whole context shews that his 
premisses are false. 

* Con, v. p, 159 161, f Ibid. p. 161. 



First then let it be observed, that the occasion of the 
Prophecy, in the xxth chapter of Ezekiel, -was this, 
The Jews, by certain of their elders, had, as was usual 
in their distresses, recourse to the God of Israel for di 
rection and assistance [ver. i.] On this we are in 
formed [ver. 3.] that the word of the Lord came to 
Ezekiel, bidding him tell these Elders, that GOD would 
not be inquired of by them : for that their continued re 
bellions, from their coming out of Egypt, to that time, 
had made them unworthy of his patronage and protec 
tion. Their idolatries are then recapitulated, and di 
vided into three periods. The FIRST, from GOD S 
message to them while in Egypt, to their entrance into 
the promised land Thus saith the Lord God, In the 
day when I chose Israel, and lifted up mine hand unto 
the seed of Jacob, and made myself known unto thtm in 
the land of Egypt, &c. and so on, from the fifth to the 
twenty-sixth verse inclusively. The SECOND period 
contains all the time from their taking possession of the 
land of Canaan, to their present condition when this 
prophecy was delivered Therefore^ son of man, speak 
unto the house of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith 
the Lord God, Yet in this your fathers have blasphemed 
me, in that they have committed a trespass against me. 


for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to them, 
^then they saw every high hill, c. and so on, from the 
twenty-seventh to the thirty-second verse inclusively. 
The THIRD period concerns the iniquities, and the con 
sequent punishment of the present generation, which 
had now applied to him in their distresses As I live, 
saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and 
with a stretched-out arm, and with fury poured out, 
WILL I RULE OVER YOU, &c. And this is the subject 
of what we find between the thirty-third and the forty- 
fourth verse, inclusively. 

This short, but exact analysis of the Prophecy, is 
more than sufficient to overturn Dr. Shuckford s system, 
founded on a distinction between the fathers arid the 
children in the eighteenth verse, (which is within the 
first period) as if the fathers related to what happened 
in the wilderness, and the children, to what happened 



under the judges ; whereas common sense is sufficient to 
convince us ; that the whole k confined to the two gene 
rations, between the exodus from Egypt and the entrance 
Into Canaan. 

But the confutation of a foolish system, dishonourable 
indeed to Scriptufe, is the least of my concern. Such 
things will die of themselves. My point, in delivering 
the truths of GOD as they lie in his Word, is to illus 
trate the amazing wisdom of that Di^p^ isrtion to which 
they belong. Let me observe therefore, as a matter of 
much greater moment, that this distinction, which the 
text hath made between the FATJILKS and the ciifL- 
DR.KNT, in the first period, during their abode in the 
wilderness, affords us a very noble instance of that di 
vine mercy which extends to thousands. 

The Prophet thus represents the fact. When GOD 
brought his chosen people out of Egypt, he gave them 
his statutes, am! shewed them Jus judgments, which if a 
man do, he shall live in them. Moreover also, he gave 
them his sabbaths, to be a sign between him and them*. 
That is, he gave them the moral law of the Decalogue, 
in which there was one positive institution f, and no 
more ;. but this one, absolutely necessary as the token of 
a covenant, to be a perpetual memorial of it, and, by 
that means, to preserve them a select people, unmixed 
with the nations. What followed so gracious and ge 
nerous a dispensation to the house of Israel? Why, 
they rebelled against him in the wilderness ; they walked 
not in his statutes, and they despised his judgments, and 
his Sabbaths they greatly polluted .. On which, he 
threatened to pour out his fury upon them in the wilder - 
ness, and consume thcm\\. But, in regard to his own 
glory, lest the Heathen, before whom he brought them 
out of Egypt, should blaspheme, he thought fit to spare 
them *[. Yet so far punished that generation, as never 
to suffer them to come into the land of Canaan**. Their 
children he spared, that the race might not be consumed 
as he had first threatened tf. And honing better things 
of them than of their Fathers, he sai.d to them in iJiz 
wilderness, IValk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, 

* Ezek. xx. n ? 1-2. f The Sabbath. J Ver. 13. || Ver. 16. 
If Ver. 14. ** Ver. 16, |f Ver. 17, 

VOL. IV. Z neither 


neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves 
with their idols. Walk in my statutes, and keep my 
judgments, and do them ; and hallow my Sabbaths ; and 
they shall be a sign between me and you*. Here we 
see, the Children, or immediate progeny, were again 
offered, as their sole rule of government, what had 
been given to, and had been violated by their Fathers ; 
namely, the moral law of the Decalogue, and the posi 
tive institution of the Sabbath. Well, and how did 
.they behave themselves on this occasion? Just as their 
lathers had done before them Notwithstanding [the 
repetition of this offered grace] the Children rebelled 
against me, they walked not in my statutes, they pol 
luted my Sabbaths \. What followed? The same 
denunciation which had hung over the Fathers, utter 
destruction in the wilderness J. However, mercy again 
prevails over judgment ; and the same reason for which 
be spared their Fathers, inclines him to spare them ; lest 
his name should be polluted in the sight of the hea 
then |j . However due punishment attended their trans 
gressions, as it had done their Fathers . Their Fathers 
left their bones in the wilderness : but this perverse race 
.being pardoned, as a People, and still possessed of the 
privilege of a select and chosen Nation, were neither to 
be scattered amongst the Heathen, nor to be confined 
for ever in the wilderness: Almighty Wisdom therefore 
ordained that their punishment should be such, as should 
.continue them, even against their Wills, a separated 
race, in possession of the land of Canaan. What this 
punishment was, the following words declare; Be 
cause they had not executed my judgments, but had 
despised my statutes, and had polluted, my Sabbaths, and 
their eyes were after tlmr fathers idols. Wherefore 

A N I) J U 1) G M E X T S W 1 1 E M E B Y T H E Y S li U L D N O T LI V E ^[. 

That is, because tkey had violated my FIRST system of 
Jaws, the DECALOGUE, I added to them [I GAVE THEM 
ALSO, words which imply the giving as a supplement] 
my SECOND system, the RITUAL LAW; very aptly cha 
racterized (when set in opposition to the MORAL LAW) 

* Ver. 18, 1.9, -20. f V e !"- 21. t Ver. 21. 

. * . p., Ver. 22, f Ver. 24, 25. 



by statutes that were not good, and by judgments where 
by they should not live. 

What is here observed, opens to us the admirable 
reasons of both punishments : and why there was a for 
bearance, or a second trial, before \\\eyokeoj Ordinances 
was imposed. For we must never forget, that the God 
of Israel transacted with his people according to the mode 
of human Governors. Let this be kept in mind, and we 
shall see the admirable progress of the Dispensation. 
God brought the Fathers out of Egypt, to put them in 
possession of the land of Caiman. He gave them the 
MORAL LAW to distinguish them for the worshippers of 
the true God : And he gave them the POSITIVE LAW 
of the Sabbath to distinguish them for GocTs peculiar 
people. These Father* proving perverse and rebellious, 
their punishment was death in the wilderness, and ex 
clusion from that good land which was reserved for their 
Children. But then these Children, in that very Wilder 
ness, the scene of their Fathers crime and calamity, fell 
into the same transgressions. What was now to be done? 
Jt \\ as plain, so inveterate an evil could be only checked 
or subdued by the curb of some severe Institution. A 
severe Institution was prepared ; and the RITUAL LAW 
was established. For the first offence, the punishment 
was personal : but when a repetition shewed it to be in 
bred, and, like the Leprosy, sticking to the whole race, 
the punishment was properly changed to national. 

How clear, how coherent, is every thing, as here ex 
plained ! How consonant to reason ! How full of divine 
wisdom ! Vet, in defiance of Scripture and Common 
sense (which have a closer connexion than the Enemies 
of religion suspect, or than the common advocates of it 
dare venture to maintain) comes a Doctor, and tells us, 
that these Children in the //7/t7e/v<m of the time of 
Moses, were Children of the land of Canaan in the time 
of the Judges ; and that the statutes given which were not 
good, were Pagan idolatries, not given, but suffered ; 
indeed not suffered ; because severely, and almost always 
immediately -punished. 

What misled our Doctor (whose Conner ions, by what 
we have seen, appear to be little better than a chain of 
errorsj seems to have been this, The Ritual law was 

z 2 given 


given during the life of the Fathers, and soon after 
their transgression mentioned in the 13th verse of this 
Prophecy. So he could not conceive how the Prophet 
should mean that this Law was given to the Children, 
But he did not consider, that the proper punishment of 
the Fathers was extinction in the wilderness : the proper 
punishment of the Children, who were reserved to 
possess the holy land, was, the infliction of the RITUAJU 

The Doctor, however, notwithstanding all his com 
placency in this his adopted system, yet appears conscious 
of its want of strength ; for he owns that an objection 
may be made to it from the following words of the Pro 
phecy Hut I said unto their children IN THE AVI L- 
DERNESS, IValk ye not in the statutes of your Fathers 
walk in my statutes and hallow my Sabbath*. And 
again, of these Children then I said I would pour out 
viy jury upon them to accomplish mine anger against 
them IN THE WILDERNESS -J-. And- again, / lifted 
up my hand unto them also ix THE WILDERNESS |. 
" Merc (says the learned Doctor) the prophet may 
" SEEM TO ii i XT, that God s anger against the Chil- 
" dren was while they were In the wilderness" p. 169. 

May seem to hint/ The Doctor must be immode 
rately-fond of precise expression, when he esteems thi&- 
to be no more than a hint or doubtful intimation. 

Put MOSES having omitted to tell us, that these 
Children did indeed play these pranks in the Wilder 
ness, he \iill not take a later Prophet s word for it. As 
Moses (says the Doctor) wrote before Ezekiel prophe 
sied^ his prophecy could not alter facts. It will be 
more than the Doctor deserves, if the Freethinker 
neglects to reply, that both the Prophet ^nd the Doctor 
here seem to hint ; the former, that Gods -anger against 
the Children wets while they zcere In the wilderness ; the 
latter, that Moses and Ezekiel contradict one another. 
But to let this pass. Prophecy, he says, could not alter 
facts ; by which he means that Prophecy, any more than 
the author of Prophecy, could not make that to be un 
done which was already done. Who ever thought it 
could? I>ut might not Ezekicl s Prophecy explain 
* Yer. 18, 19, 20. $ Ver. -21. J V&r. 23. 



facts, and relate them too, which a former Prophet had 
omitted .? However, Ezekiel is not the only one who in 
forms us of this fact. AMOS upbraids these sojourners 
in the wilderness with a still more general apostasy* 
" Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings IN 
^ THE WILDERNESS forty years, O house of Israel ? 
" But ye have born the tabernacle of your Moloch and 
fc Chiun, your images, the Star of your God, which ye 
" made to yourselves*." Now if the Israelites com 
mitted idolatry all the time they sojourned in the Wilder 
ness, the crime necessarily included the CHILDREN with 
the Fathers. 

The Doctor s second expedient to evade the deter 
minate evidence of the text is as ridiculous as the first is 
-extravagant. The text says, I will pour out my jury 
upon them to accomplish mine anger against them IN 
THE WILDERNESS. " These words, in the wilderness, 
" (says the acute Expositor) do not hint the place where 
a the anger was to be accomplished, but rather refer to 
anger, and suggest the anger to be, as if we might 
" almost say in English, the WILDERNESS-ANGER." 
p. 171.. If the Doctor s Rhetoric is to l> enriched with 
this new phrase, I think his Logic should nqt be denied 
the benefit of a like acquisition, of which it wiil have 
frequent use, and that is, WILDERNESS-REASONING. 
And so much for this learned solution. 

But the absurdity of supposing with these men, that 
the words, I gave them also statutes that were not good, 
mid judgments whereby tlicy should mt live, might sig 
nify, their taking (without giving) Baal and .-Ishterotll 
jvr their (rods, (p. 163.) is l>est exposed by the Prophet 
himself, as his words lie in the text. Consider then the 
case of these Rebels. God s first intention (as in the 
other case of their Fathers rebellion) is represented to 
be the renouncing them for his people, and scattering 
them amongst the nations. Then I said I would pour 
out my jury upon them to accomplish my anger against 
them in the wilderness -f*. But his mercy prevails 
Nevertheless I withdrew mine hand, and wrought for 
my names sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight 
af the Heathen, in whose sight I brought themJorUi . 
* Chap, v, ver. 25, -26. f Ver. 21* j Ver. 22. 

.i rf z 3 Ift 


In these two verses, we see, that the punishment in 
tended, and the mercy shewn, are delivered in general ; 
v. ithout the circumstances of the punishment, or the con 
ditions of the mercy. The three following verses, in the 
mode of the eastern composition, which delights in re 
petition, informs us more particularly of these dream- 
stances, which were DISPERSION, &c. and of these con 
ditions * which were the imposition of a Ritual Laio 
I lifted i(p my hand unto them also in the wilderness, 
that I would SCATTER THEM amongst the heathen, and 
DISPERSE THEM through the countries , because they 
had not executed my judgments, but had despised my 
statutes, and had polluted my Sabbaths, and their eyes 
were after their lathers idols *. Here, the intended 
punishment is explained specifically, that is, with its 
circumstances. The mercy follows ; and the terms, on 
which it was bestowed, are likewise explained Where 
fore 1 gave them also Statutes that were NOT GOOD, and 
Judgments whereby they should NOT LIVE t- And now 
the beggarly shifts of the new interpretation appear in 
ail- their nakedness. Whatever is meant by .statutes not 
good y the end of giving them, ue see, was to preserve 
them a peculiar people to the Lord ; for the punishment 
of dispersion was remitted to them. But if by statutes 
not good be meant the permitting them to fall into. Ido 
latries, God is absurdly represented as decreeing an ettd 
(the keeping his people separate) ; and at the same time 
providing means to ducat it : For every lapse into ido 
latry was a step to their dispersion and utter consumption^ 
by absorbing them into the Nations. We must needs 
conclude therefore, that, by STATUTES NOT GOOD , is 
meant the RITUAL LAW, the only means of attaining 
that end of mercy, The preserving them a separate 

Who now can chuse but smile to hear our learned Ex* 
positcr quoting these words of the book of Judges, - 
The CHILDREN of Israel did evil in the sight of the 
Lord, and followed other Gods, of the Gods of the people 
thai icere round about them* and provoked the Lord to 
anger, and served Baal and A slit troth ; and then 
gravely adding, " So that here the scene opens which 

* Ver. 23, 24. t Ver. 25. \ Cap. ii.ver. n, 12, 13. 



" Ezekicl alludes to ; and accordingly, what Ezekiel 
" mentions as the punishment of these wickednesses began 
** now to come upon them." p. 163. 

However, it must be owned, that if words alone could 
shake the solidity of the interpretation I have here given, 
these which immediately follow the contested passage of 
statutes not good, would be enough to alarm us And 

I polluted them (says the text) hi their own gifts, in that 
they caused to pass through thejire all that vpeneth the, 
womb> that I might make them desolate, to the end that 
they might know that I am the Lord *. The common 
interpretation of which is this : " I permitted them to fall 
" into that wicked inhumanity, whereby they were pol- 
" luted and contaminated, in making their Children to 
" pass through the fire to Moloch, in order to root them 
<f out and utterly to destroy them." 

Dr. Spencer (who follows the general sense of the pro 
phesy which I have here explained and supported) ap 
peared but too sensible how much this text stood in his 
way. He endeavours therefore to shew, that "it relates 
" to God s rejecting the first-born of the Israelites from 

II the priesthood, and appointing the tribe of Levi to 
" the sacred office in their stead :" and that, therefore, 
the verse should be rendered thus, / pronounced them 
polluted in their gifts [i. e. unfit to offer me any oblation], 
in that I passed by ail that openeth the womb [i. e, the, 
first-born] in order to humble them, that they might know 
that I am the Lord. And this rendering may be the 
right, for any thing Dr. Shuckford has to oppose to the 

-contrary (pp. 168, 109); the main of which is, what 
lias be<;n already confuted, (or rather, what the very 
terms, in which the assertion is advanced, do themselves 
collate) namely, that the Children in the inlderness were 
not the immediate issue of those who died in the ivildcr- 
mss, but a remote posterity. As tor his Hebrew criti 
cism, that the \vurd macis, and not nabar, would 
probably have been used by the Prophet, if rejecting 

jrom the priesthood had been the sense intended by him, 
(p. KM)) this is the slenderest of ail reasoning, even 
though it had been applied to a Rhetorician by profession, 
and in a language very copious, and perfectly well under 

* Ver. 26. 

z 4 ---- . 


stood : How evanid is it therefore, when applied to a 
Prophet under the impulse of inspiration, and speaking 
in the most scanty of all languages ; the small knowledge 
of which is to be got from one single volume of no large 
bulk, and conveyed in a mode of writing subject to per 
petual equivocations and ambiguities ! From the mischiefs 
of which, God in his good providence preserved us by 
the Septuagint Translation, made while the Hebrew was 
a living language, and afterwards authenticated by 
the recognition of the inspired writers of the New Tes 

However, the truth is, that this explanation of the 
learned Spencer must appear forced, even though we 
had no better to oppose to it : But when there is a better 
at hand, which not only takes off all the countenance 
which this 26th verse affords to Dr. Shuckford s interpre 
tation of statutes not good, but so exactly quadrates with 
the sense here given, that it completes and perfects the 
narrative, we shall be no longer frighted with its formi 
dable look. 

To understand then what it aims at, we must consider 
the context as it has been explained above. The 2ist 
and 22d verses (it hath been shewn) contain God s pur 
poses of judgment and of mercy in general. The 23d, 
24th, and 25th, explain in what the intended judgment 
would have consisted, and how the prevailing mercy 
was qualified. The Israelites were to be pardoned ; but 
to be kept under, by the yoke of a ritual Law, described 
only in general by the title of statutes not good. The 
s6th verse opens the matter still further, and explains 
the nature and genius of that yoke, together with its 
effects, both salutary and baleful. The salutary, as it 
was a barrier to idolatry, the most enormous species of 
\vhich was that of causing their children to pass through 
the fire to A/dock : the bait) id, as it brought on their 
desolation v\hen they became deprived of the Tern pie- 
worship. But to be more particular / polluted them 
in their own gifts. By gifts I understand that homage 
(universally expressed, in the ancient world, by llites, 
of sacrifice) which a People owed to their God. Ane^ 
.bow were these gifts polluted? By a multifarious 
Ilitual, which, being opposed to the idolatries ot the 


Nations, was prescribed in reference to those idolatries ; 
and, consequently, was incumbered with a thousand Ce 
remonies, respecting the choice of the animal ; the 
qualities and purifications of the Sacriiicers ; and the 
direction and efficacy of each specific Offering. This 
account of their pollution, by such a Ritual, exactly 
answers to the character given of that Ritual, [statutes 
not good, Sfc. ] in the text in question. Then follows 
the reason of God s thus polluting them in their -QWH gifts 
m that for, because that] they carnal to pass through 
the fire all that cpcneth the womb i. e. the polluting 
Ritual was imposed as a PUNISHMENT I^OR, as well as 
HARRIER TO their idolatries; characterized under this 
most enormous and horrid of them all, the causing of 
their children to pass through thejire to Moloch. Then 
follows the humiliating circumstance of this ritual yoke, 
that I might make them desolate^ i.e. that they should, 
oven from the nature of that Ritual, be deprived, when 
they most wanted it, of their nearest intercourse with 
their God and King. A real state of desolation ! To 
understand which, we are to consider, that at the time 
this Prophesy was delivered, the Jews, by their accu 
mulated iniquities, were accelerating, what doubtless the 
Prophet had then in his eye, their punishment of the 
seventy years Captivity. Now, by the peculiar Con 
stitution of the ritual Law, their Religion became, as it 
were, local ; it being unlawful to offer sacrifice but in 
the temple of Jerusalem only. So that when they were 
led captive into a foreign land, the most solemn and es 
sential intercourse between God and- them (the morning 
and evening sacrifice) was entirely cut oft : and. thus, by 
means of the ritual Law, they were emphatically said 
to be made desolate. The verse concludes in telling us, 
for what end .this punishment was .inflicted that- they 
might !mow that / am the Lord. IJow would this ap 
pear iroin the premisses? Very evidently. For if, ujiile 
they were in Captivity, they were under an interdict, 
and their Religion in a state of, Suspension, and yet that 
they were to continue God s select people (for the scope 
of the whole Prophecy is to shew, that, notwithstanding 
all their provocations, God still worked for his names 
sake), then,, in order to be restored to their Religion, 

.:- they 


they were to be reinstated in their own Land : which 
work, Prophecy ahvays describes as the utmost manifes- 
tation of God s power. Their redemption from the 
Assyrian captivity particularly, being frequently corn- 
pared, by the Prophets, to that of the Egyptian. From 
hence therefore all men might know and collect, that the 
God of Israel was tftc Lord. 

This famous text then, we see, may be thus aptly pa 
raphrased And I polluted them in their own gifts, in 
that they caused to pas?! through the fire all that opcneth 
the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end 
that they might know that I am the Lord , i.e. "I 
loaded the religious Worship due to me, as their God 
and King, with a number of operose Ceremonies, to 
punish their past, and to oppose to their future, idola 
tries; the most abominable of which was their making 
their children to pass through the fire to Moloch : And 
furl her, that I might have the Ceremonial Law always 
at hand as an instrument for still more severe punish 
ments, when the full measure of their iniquities shoufu 
bring them into Captivity in a strange land, I so con 
trived, by the very constitution of their Religion, that 
it should then remain under an interdict, and all stated 
intercourse be cut oft" between me and them ; From 
which evil, would necessarily arise this advantage, an 
occasion to manifest- my power to the Gentiles, in 
bringing my People again, after a due time of penance, 
into their own land." 

Here we see, the text, thus expounded, connects and 
completes the whole narrative, concerning the imposi 
tion of the ritual Law, and its nature and consequences, 
from the 2 1st to the 20th verse inclusively: and opens 
the history of it by due degrees, which the most just and 
elegant compositions require. We are first informed of 
the threatened judgment, and of the prevailing mercy in 
general : we are then told the specific nature of that 
judgment, and the circumstance attending the accorded 
mercv ; and lastly, the Prophet explains the nature and 
genius of that attendant circumstance; together with its 
adverse as- well as benignant effects. 

I have now deprived the CONNECTER of all his argu 
ments but one, for this strartge interpretation tf statutes 



net good; and that one is, " That the worshippers of 

Baal and Ashteroth, in the book of Judges, and the 
slaves to statutes not good in the prophet i .zekid, hav 
ing the common name of CHILDREN, must needs be the 
same individuals:" But this I make a conscience of 
taking from him., 

Yet such confidence has the learned person in his 
goodly exposition, that he concludes bis rea>ori : n^ against 
the obvious sense of the Prophecy, in this trxlu? ordinary 
manner " Dr. Spencer imagined, this text alone was 
" sufficient to support his hypothesis, but I cannot but 
" think, if what has been offered be fairly considered, 
" NO HONJ ST WHITER can ever cite it again for that 
" purpose/ p. 167. 

What is Dr. Spencer s hypothesis? Just this and no 
other, that Moses gave the ritual Law to ike Jew* be 
cause oj the hardness oj their hearts *; the very Hypo 
thesis of Jesus Christ himself. 

But the CONNECTER thinks, that, if what he has 
offered be fairly considered, NO HONL:T WRITE it can 
ci er cite it again J or that purpose This smells strong 
of the Bigot. One can hardly think one s self in the 
closet of a learned and sober Divine ; but rather in some 
wild Conventicle of Methodists or Huichinsonians ; 
whose criticisms are all Revelations : which, though you 
cannot embrace but at the expcnee of COMMON SENSE, 
you are not allowed to question without renouncing 


I havej<fir!y considered (as the Connecter expects his 
Reader should do) what he has offered Against Dr. Spen 
cer s hypothesis ; and if there be any truth in the con 
clusions of human reason, I think a writer may go on 
very advantageously, as well as with a good conscience, 
to defend that Hypothesis. How such a writer shall be 
qualified by Bigots, is another point Many an HONEST 
3i AN, 1 am persuaded, will still adhere to Dr. Shuck- 
fords hypothesis-, and with the same good faith, with 
which he himself supported it : for though his charity 
will not allow that title to those who di&sent from him, 
yet God forbid, that I should not give it to Him. 

But it is now time to proceed to the third period of 
* Matt. xix. 8. 



THIS Prophecy. For the principal design of this Work 
is to vindicate and illustrate sacred Scripture, though in 
my progress I be still obliged, from time to time, to stop 
a little, while I remove the most material obstructions 
which lie in my way. 

This Prophecy hitherto contains a declaration of th 
various punishments inflicted on the rebellious Israelites, 
from the time of Moses s mission to the preaching of 
Ezekiel. We have shewn that their punishment in the 
first period, was death in the wilderness : their punish 
ment in the second period, was the fastening on their 
Alecks the yoke of the ritual Laze. 

Their punishment in the third period is now to be 
considered : and we shall see that it consisted in ren 
dering the yoke of the ritual Law still more galling, by 
\vithdrav\ing from them that EXTRAORDINARY PROVI-< 
DEXCE, which once rewarded the studious observers 
of it, with many temporal blessings. The punishment 
-was dreadful : and such, indeed, the Prophet describes 
it to have been. But we may be assured, their crinieB 
deserved it, as having risen in proportion with it; and 
this likewise, he tells us, was the case. Their idolatries 
were at first, and so, for some time, they continued to 
be, the mixing Pagan worship with the worship of the 
God of Israel. But though they had so often smarted 
tor this folly, they were yet so besotted with the Gods 
of the nations, the stocks utid stones of the high places, 
that their last progress in impiety was the project of 
casting oil" the God of Israel entirely, at least as their 
TUTELAR Gocl, and of mixing themselves amongst the 
Nations. They had experienced, that the God of Is 
rael was a JEALOUS GOD, who would not share his 
glory with another; and they hoped to avoid his wrath 
by renouncing their Covenant with him, and leaving him 
at liberty to chiise another people. To such a degree 
of impiety and madness was this devoted Nation arrived, 
when Ezekiel prophesied at the eve ofr their approaching 
Captivity. All this will be made p ! ain, by what follows. 

We have seen their behaviour in the two former pe 
riods; in EGYPT, and in the WILDERNESS. The third 
begins with a description of their Manners when. they hacj 
taken possession of the J&nd of CANAAN. 

Ver. 27. 


Ver. 27. u Son of man, speak unto the house of Isr 
V rael, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God ; 
" Yet in this your fathers have blasphemed me, in that 

* they have committed a trespass against me. 

28. " For when I had brought them into the land, 
" for the which I lifted up my hand to give it to them, 

* then they saw every high hill, and all the thick trees, 
" and they offered there their sacrifices, and there they 
" presented the provocation of their offering." 

This was their continual practice, even to the delivery 
of this Prophecy ; at which time, their enormities were. , 
come to the height, we just mentioned ; to contrive in 
their hearts to renounce the God of Israel, altogether. 
But being surrounded with calamities, and a powerful 
enemy at their door, they were willing to procure a pre 
sent relief from him, whom they had so much offended; 
though at this very instant, they were projecting to offend 
etill more. The singular impudence of this conduct was, 
apparently, the immediate occasion of this famous Pro*, 
phecy; as we, shall now see. 

Ver. 30. " Wherefore say unto the house of Israel* 

* Thus saith the Lord God ; Are ye polluted after the 
* c manner of your fathers? and commit ye whoredom 
-* after their abominations ? 

31. * c For when ye offer your gifts, when ye make 

* your sons to pass through the lire ; ye pollute your- 
* l selves with all your idols EVEN TO THIS DAY : and 
* c shall I be enquired of by you, O house of Israel? 

,* As I live, saith the Lord God, 1 will not be enquired 

* of by you." 

That this recourse to the God of their Fathers was 
uly a momentary impulse, arising from their pressing 
necessities, is evident from what immediately follows; 
the mention of that specific crime which brought upon 
them the punishment annexed to the third period.- 




33. " As I live, saith the Lord God, Surely with a 
" mighty hand, and with a stretched-cmt arm, AM> 


34- " 



" hand, and with a stretchcd-out arm, AND WITH 


3.5. IC And I will bring you into the WILDERNESS OF 
<c THE PEOPLE, and there will I plead with you face 
" to face. 

36. " Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the zeil- 
* { ckrncss of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you 
" face to face." 

By all this it appears, that the Jews of this time were 
little anxious to crcoid tht ir approaching Captivity, de 
nounced and threatened by all their Prophets. What 
they wanted was a %ht and easy servitude, which might 
enable them to mingle with, and at last to he lost 
amongst the Nations; like the Ten Tribes which had 
pone before them. Against the vileness of these hopes 
is this part of the Prophecy directed. God assures 
them, he will bring them out of the Assyriati Captivity, 
as he had done out of the Egyptian; but not in mercy, 
as that deliverance was procured, but in judgment, and 
With fury pourtd out. And as he had brought their 
Fathers into the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so 
would lie bring them into the WILDERNESS OF THE 
PEOPLE, that is, the land of Canaan, which they would 
find, on their return to it, was become desart and unin 
habited: and therefore elegantly called, the wilderness 
cf the people. But what now was to be their reception, 
en their second possession of the promised Land? a very 
different welcome from the first. God indeed leads 
them here again with a mighty han d and a stretched-out 
arm; and it was to take possession; but not, as at first, 
of a land flowing with -milk and honey, but of a prison, 
a house of correction where they were to pass under the 
rod, and to remain in bonds. 

Ver. 37. <c AND I WILL CAUSE YOU (says Got!) TO 


Words which strongly and elegantly express subjection 
to a ritual Law, alter the extraordinary Providence, 
which so much alleviated the yoke of it, was withdrawn : 



And we find it withdrawn soon after their return from 
the Captivity. But, the Prophecy, carrying on the 
comparison to the Egyptian deliverance, adds 

Ver. 38. " And I will purge out from amongst you 
" the Ilehels, and them that transgress against me : I 
" will bring them forth out of the country where they 
" sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of 
" Israel." 

These Rebels, like their FATHERS in the wilderness^ 
ivere indeed to be brought out of Captivity, but .were 
never to enjoy the promised Land ; and the rest, like the 
CHILDREN In the wilderness, were to have the yoke of 
the ritual Law still made more galling. And thus the 
COMPARISON is completed. 

These were the three different punishments inflicted in 
these three different periods. The first PERSONAL; the 
second and the third, NATIONAL; only the third made 
heavier than the second, in proportion to their accumu 
lated offences. 

. But as, in the height of God s vengeance on the sins of 
Mils wretched people, the distant prospect always termi 
nated in a mercy ; So, with a mercy, and a promise of 
better times, the whole of this prophetic Scene is closed ; 
in order that the NATION to which it is addressed, should, 
however criminal they were, not be left in an utter state 
of desperation, but be afforded some shadow of repose, 
in the prospect of future peace and tranquillity. For 
now, turning again to these temporary Inquirers after 
God, the Prophecy addresses them, in this manner: 

Ver. 39. u As for you, () house of Israel 3 thus saith 
" the Lord God; Go yc> serve ye. every one his idols, 
" and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me : 
" But pollute you my holy name no more with your 
" gills, and with your idols." 

As much as to say, Go on no longer in this divided 
worship ; halt no more between two opinions ; if Baa s i 
be your God, serve him; if the God of Israel, then 
*erve him only. The reason follows : 

Ver, 40 43. " For in mint ho- y mountain there 

v " shall all the house of Israel serve me. There will 

" / accept them, and there, will I require your offer- 

" ings with all your holy thingsand tJftre shall ye 

" remember 


" remember ycur ways, and all ynnr doings wherein yc 
" have been dejiled. AND YE SHALL LOTHE YOUR- 
u SELVES IN YOUR owv SIGHT." i.e. " Fpr then, 
a new order of things shall commence. My people, after 
their return from the Captivity, shall be as averse to 
idolatry, as till then they were prone and disposed to it : 
and the memory of their former follies shall make them 
lothe themselves in their ovn sight." And this, indeed, 
was the fact, as we learn by their whole history, from 
their restoration to their own Land, quite down to the 
present hour. 

The idea of MERCY is naturally attached to that of 
repentance and reformation ; and with JMERCY the Pro 
phecy concludes. 

Ver 44. " And ye shall know that I am the Lord; 
" when I have wrought with you for my name s sake, 
" ntit according to your wicked ways, nor according to 
4t ymtr corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel) salth the 
" Lord God" 

The Header hath now a full explanation of the whole 
Prophecy : whereby he may understand how justly it 
hath acquired its eminent celebrity. Its general subject 
being no less than the Fate and Fortunes of the Jewish 
Republic ; of which the several parts are so important, 
so judiciously chosen, so elegantly disposed, and so 
nobly enounced, that we see the divinity of the original 
in every step we take. 

But to return to the peculiar purpose of this Comment. 
Which is given to shew, that God himself has delivered . 
the ritual Law of the Jews, under the character of 
Statutes that were not gfiod, and Judgments whereby 
theij should not live*. 

The use I would make of it against AVirsius, with 
whom I have been concerned, is to shew, that if such 
l>c the genius of the ritual Law, it is no wonder it should 
liave, in its composition, an alloy of no better materials, 
than Egyptian and other Pagan Ceremonies ; cleansed 
indeed and refined from their immoralities and super 
stitions : And conversely, that a composition of such an 
alloy was very aptly characterized by Statutes not good, 
and Judgments w-hcrebij they could not live. 

* See note [BBBBB] at the end of iliis Book, 



Thus having before seen what little force there was in 
Witsius s arguments, and now understand ing how little 
reason lie had to be so tenacious of his opinion ; the 
reader may think he scarce merited the distinction of 
being recommended to a learned Body as the very bul 
wark of the faith, in this matter. But let what will 
become of his arguments, he deserves honour for a much 
better thing than orthodox disputation : I mean, for ail 
honest turn of mind, averse to imputing odious designs 
to his adversaries, or dangerous consequences to their 

On the whole then, w-e conclude, both against DEIST 
and BELIEVER, that the Ritual Law s being made in 
reference to Egyptian superstition is no reasonable ob 
jection to the divinity of its original. 

But the Deist may object, " That though indeed, 
when the Israelites were once deeply infected with that 
superstition, such a ritual might be necessary to stop and 
cure a growing evil ; yet as the remedy was so multiplex, 
burdensome, and slavish, and therefore not in itself 
eligible, how happened it, that GOD, who had this 
family under his immediate and peculiar care, should 
suffer them to contract an infection which required so 
inconvenient and impure a remedy ? 

I have been so accustomed to find the strongest ob 
jections of infidelity end in the stronger recommendation 
of revealed Religion, that I have never been backward, 
either to produce what they have said, when they write 
their best, or to imagine what they would say, if they 
knew how to w rite better. To this therefore I reply, 
That the promise GOD had made to Abraham, to give 
his posterity the land of Canaan, could not be performed 
till that Family was grown strong enough to take and 
keep possession of it. In the mean time, therefore, 
they were necessitated to reside amongst idolaters. And 
we have seen, although they resided unmixed, how 
violent a propensity they ever had to join themselves to 
the Gentile Nations, and to practise their Manners. 
GOD, therefore, in his infinite wisdom brought them 
into Egypt, and kept them there during this period ; the 
* See note [CCGGC] at the end of this Book. 

VOL. IV. A A only 


only place where they could remain, for so long a time, 
safe and unconfounded with the natives ; the ancient 
Egyptians being, by numerous institutions, forbidden all 
fellowship with strangers ; and bearing, besides, a par 
ticular aversion to the profession* of this Family. Thus 
we see, that the natural disposition of the Israelites, 
which, in Egypt, occasioned their superstitions ; and, in 
consequence, the necessity of a burthensome Ritual, 
would, in any other Country, have absorbed them in 
Gentilism, and confounded them with Idolaters. From 
this objection, therefore, nothing comes but a new r 
occasion to adore the footsteps of eternal Wisdom in his 
Dispensations to his chosen People. 


The last proposition is, That the vert/ circumstances 
of Moses x Egyptian learning, and the Laics instituted 
in compliance to the peoples prejudices, and in opposition 
to Egyptian superstitions, are a strong confirmation of 
the divinity of his mission. 

EGYPT was -the great School of legislation for the rest 
of Mankind. And so revered were her oracular dictates, 
that foreign Lawgivers, who went thither for instruction, 
never ventured to deviate from those fundamental prin 
ciples of Government which she prescribed. In RE 
LIGION, particularly, which always made a part of 
civil Policy, they so closely adhered to Egyptian maxims, 
that Posterity, as we have seen,, were deceived into an 
opinion Unit the Greek Lawgivers had received their very 
G ods from thence. 

What therefore must we think had been the case of a 
Native of Egypt; bred up from his infancy in Egyptian 
wisdom, and. at length, become a member of their 
Legislative body? would such a man, when going to 
frame a civil Policy and Religion (though we suppose 
nothing of that natural affection, which the best and 
wisest men have ever borne for their own country in 
stitutions), be at all inclined to deviate from its funda 
mental principles of Government ? 

Yet here we have in Moses, according to our Adver 
saries account of him, a mere human Lawiyiverv com 
* The profession of Shepherds. 



fresh out of the Schools i,f Egypt, to reduce a turbulent 
People into Society, acting on fundamental Principles 
of Religion and Policy directly opposite to all the max 
ims of Egyptian Wisdom. 

One of the chief of which, in the RELIGIOUS POLICY 
of Egypt, was, That the government of the World had, 
by the supreme Ruler of the universe, been committed 
into the hands of subordinate, local, tutelary Deities; 
amongst whom the several Regions of the earth were 
shared out and divided : that these were the true and 
proper objects of all public and popular religion ; and 
that the knowledge of the ONE TRUE GOD, the Creator 
of all things, was highly dangerous to be communicated 
to the People ; but was to be secreted, and shut up in 
their MYSTERIES ; and in them, to be revealed only 
occasionally, and to a few ; and those few, the wise, 
the learned, and ruling part of mankind *. Now, in 
plain defiance and contempt of this most venerable 
Principle, our Egyptian Lawgiver rejects these doctrines 
of inferior Deities, as impostures, and lying vanities ; 
and boldly and openly preaches up to tne People, the 
belief of the ONE TRUE GOD, the Creator, as the sole 
object of the Religion of all mankind *\*. 

Another fundamental maxim, the RELIGIOUS POLICY 
of Egypt, was to propagate, by every kind of method, 
PUNISHMENTS; as the necessary support of all Religion 
and Government. Here again, our Lawgiver (no Deist 
can tell whyj) forsakes all his own principles ; inten 
tionally rejects a support, which was as really beneficial 
to mankind, in all his interests, as the other notion, of 
inferior Deities, was but thought to be ; intirely omits to 
mention it in his Institutes of Law and Religion ; and is 
studiously silent in all those particulars which lead to the 
propagation of it||. But of this, more at large, in a 
future volume. 

Again, it was of the CIVIL POLICY of Egypt to pre- 

* See an account of these MYSTERIES in the Second Volume. 
f See note [DDDDD] at the end of this Book, 
j See View of Lord Bolingbroke s Philosophy, Vol. xii. Letter IV. 
|| See note [EEEEE] at the end of this Book. 

A A 2 fer 


fer an hereditary despotic Monarchy to all other forms of 
Government: Moses, on the contrary, erects a THEO 
CRACY on the free choice of the people ; to be administered 

Add to all this, that his deviation from the Policy of 
Egypt was encountering the strongest prejudices of his 
People ; who were violently carried away to all the cus 
toms and superstitions of that Policy. 

And now let an ingenuous Deist weigh these instances, 
with many more that will easily occur to him, and then 
fairly tell us his sentiments. Let him try, if he can 
think it was at all likely, that Moses, a mere human 
Lawgiver, a Native of Egypt, and learned in all its 
political Wisdom, should, in the formation of a Civil 
policy, for such a People as he undertook to govern, act 
directly contrary to all the fundamental principles in 
which he had been instructed ? 

I. To this perhaps it may be said, " That Moses 
well understood the folly and falsehood of inferior GODS : 
that he did not believe the doctrine of a future state 
of rewards and punishments; that he was too honest 
to employ fraud : that his love to his People made h hn 
indisposed to an hereditary despotic Monarchy ; -and 
that the theologic principles of Egypt led him to the 
invention of a TiiEOCRA ct." To all this, I answer, 

1. As to his seeing the falsehood^of inferior Gods.-^ 
So did many other of the old Lawgivers, instructed in 
Egyptian policy ; yet being taught to think Polytheism 
viseful to Society, they did ndt, for all that, the less 
cultivate their abominable idolatry. 

2. As to his not believing a future state, and his ho 
nesty in not teaching what he did not believe. Such 
Objectors forget that they have already made him a 
fraudulent impostor, in his pretension to a divine em 
ployment. Now if the end of civil Government made 4 
him fraudulent in that instance, it would hardly suffer 
him to be scrupulous in this ; even allowing the extra 
vagance of this fancy, that he did not believe a future 
state; because, as hath been proved at large*, the pro 
pagation of this doctrine is, and was always believed to 

* See the first three volumes,- 



be, the firmest support of civil government : But of this 
more at large, hereafter. .- , 

3. With regard to his concern for the happiness of 
his people ; I will readily allow this to be very consist 
ent with Heroic or Legislative fraud. But this happi 
ness the ancient Lawgivers thought best procured by the 
Egyptian mode of Government. .And indeed they had 
EXPERIENCE, the best, guide in public matters. For 
the excellent education which the Egyptians gave their 
Kings, in training them up to the love of the Public, 
and high veneration for the Laws, prevented the usual 
abuse of power; and gave to that people the longest 
and most uninterrupted course of prosperity that any 
Nation ever enjoyed*. It is no wonder, therefore, 
that this should make MONARCHY (as it did) the first 
favourite form of Government, in all places civilized by 
the aid of Egypt. 

4. But, the theologic principles of Egypt led Moses 
to the invention of a THEOCRACY. Without doubt 
those principles, as we shall see hereafter, occasioned 
its easy reception amongst the Hebrews. But there is 
one circumstance in the case that shews its invention 
must have been of GOD, and not of Moses. For the 
ground of its easy reception was the notion of local tu 
telary Deities. But this notion, Moses, in preaching 
up the doctrine of the one true GOD, entirely took away. 
This, indeed, on a supposition of a DIVINE LEGATION, 
has all the marks of admirable wisdom ; but supposing 
it to be Moses s own contrivance, we see nothing but 
inconsistency and absurdity. He forms a design, and 
then defeats it ; he gives with one hand, and he takes 
away with the other. 

II. But it may be farther objected, "That, as it 
was the intention of Moses to separate these people from 
all others, he therefore gave them those cross and op 
posite institutions, as a barrier to all communication." 
To this I answer, 

i. That were it indeed GOD, and not Moses, who 
projected this SEPARATION, the reason would be good. 
Because the immediate end of GOD S separation was 
* See note [FFFFF] at the end of this Book. 

A A 3 twofold, 


twofold, to keep them unmixed ; and to secure them 
from idolatrv : and such end could not be effected but 
by opposing those fundamental principles of Egypt, 
with the doctrine of ONE GOD, and the institution of a 
THEOCRACY. But then this, \vhich would be a good 
reason, will become a very bad objection. Our Deist 
is to be held to the question. He regards Moses as a 
mere human Lawgiver. But the sole end which such a 
one could propose by a separation, was to preserve his 
people pure and unmixed. Now this could be effected 
only by laws which kept them at home, and discouraged 
and prevented all foreign commerce : and these, by the 
same means, bringing on general poverty, there would 
be small danger of their being much frequented, while 
they laboured under that contagious malady. This we 
know was the case of Sparta. It was their Lawgiver s 
chief aim to keep them distinct and unmixed. But did 
he do this by institutions which crossed the fundamental 
principles of tiie Religion and Policy of Greece ? By 
no means. They were all of them the same. The me 
thod he employed was only to frame such Laws as dis 
couraged commerce and foreign intercourse. And these 
proved effectual. I the rather instance in the Spartan, 
than in any other Government, because the end, which 
Moses and Lycurjjus pursued in common, (though for 
different purposes) of keeping their people separate, 
occasioned such a likeness in several parts of the two 
Institutions, as was, in my opinion, the real origin of 
that tradition mentioned in the first book of Maccabees, 
That there was a Family-relation between the two 

2. But, secondly, as it is very true, that the mere 
intention of keeping a people separate and unmixed 
(which is all a human Lawgiver could have in view) 
-would occasion Laws in opposition to the customs of 
those people with whom, from their vicinity to, or fond 
ness for, they were in most danger of being confounded ; 
so, when I insisted on those Anti-Egyptian institutions, 
which I gave as a certain proof of Aloses s Divine Le 
gation, 1 did not reckon, in my account, any of that 
vast number of ritual and municipal laws, which, Ma- 



netho confesses, were given principally in opposition to 
Egyptian customs*. This a mere separation would 
require : But this is a very different thing from the op 
position to FUNDAMENTALS, here insisted on ; which a 
mere separation did not in the least require. 

III. But it may be still further urged, " That resent 
ment for ill usage might dispose Moses to obliterate the 
memory of the place they came from, by a Policy con 
trary to the fundamental Institutions of Egypt/ IJere 
again our objecting Deist will forget himself. I. Me 
hath urged a CONFORMITY in the LAW to Egyptian 
Rites ; and this, in order to discredit Moses s Divine 
Legation : and we have allowed him his fact. What 
ever it was therefore that engaged Moses to his general 
OPPOSITION, it could not be resentment: for that had 
certainly prevented all kind of conformity or similitude. 

2. But, secondly, such effects of civil resentment, the 
natural manners of men will never suffer us to suppose. 
We have in ancient history many accounts of the settle 
ment of new Colonies, forced injuriously from home by 
their fellow-citizens. But we never find that this imbit- 
tered them against their Country-institutions. On the 

O J 

contrary, their close adherence to their native customs, 
notwithstanding all personal wrongs, has in every age 
enabled learned men to find out their original, bv strong 

O * */ j 

characteristic marks of relation to the mother city. And 
the reason is evident : INNATE LOVE OF ONE S COUN 
TRY, whose attractive power, contrary to that of natural 
bodies, is strongest at a distance; and INVETERATE 
MANNERS which stick closest in distress (the usual state 
of all new Colonies) are qualities infinitely too strong to 
give way to resentment against particular men for per 
sonal injuries. 

It is not indeed unlikely but that some certain specific 
Law or custom, which did, or was imagined to contri 
bute to their disgrace and expulsion, might, out of re 
sentment, be reprobated by the new Colony. And this 

* O CE <&fuTov fj.iv etvro~<; v6fj.6v t Q/lo, /^fjT &(>o<rv.vvi~v vitsq. py)Tt rut 

aXtfot tv Aiyvvrlct) StiA^tvofAivuv li^uv (^uuv a.Tri%iaou ^jjjsvoj, ttdvlot. n 

iiv x avaXay* <rvva.irle(r()on 1 ^.rt^ivl tsXriv ruv avvuy.tvuv. ToiaDra. ^ 

Apud Joseph, cont. Ap. 1. i. p. 46.0, 461. Haverch. Ed. 

A A4 


is the utmost that the history of mankind will suffer us 
to suppose. 

On the whole, therefore, I conclude that MOSES S 


The second part of the proposition is no less evident, 
That the laws instituted in compliance to the people s pre 
judices, and in opposition to Egyptian superstitions, 
support the same truth with equal strength. Had 
Moses s Mission been only pretended, his conduct, as 
a wise Lawgiver, had doubtless been very different. His 
business had been then only to support a false pretence 
to inspiration. Lee us sec how he managed. He pre 
tended to receive the whole frame of a national Institution 
from GOD ; and to have had the pattern of all its parts 
brought him down from Heaven, to the Mount. But 
when this came to be promulged, it was seen that, the 
CEREMONIAL LAW being politically instituted, partly 
in compliance to the people s prejudices, and partly in 
opposition to Egyptian superstitions, several of its Rites 
had a reference to the Pagan superstitions in vogue. 
This, as we see, from the objection of the ignorant in 
these times, might have been an objection in those. And 
as an Impostor could not have foreseen the objection, 
his fears of a discovery would have made him decline 
so hazardous a system, and cautiously avoid every thing 
that looked like an imitation. It is true, that, on en 
quiry, this unfolds a scene of admirable and superior 
wisdom : but it is such as an Impostor could never have 
projected ; or at least would never have ventured to leave 
to the mercy of popular judgment. We conclude, 
therefore, that this conduct is a clear proof that Moses 
actually received the Institution from GOD. Nor does 
this in anywise contradict what we have so much insisted 
on above, That a mere human Lawgiver, or even an 
inspired one, acting with free agents, is necessitated to 
comply with the passions of the People ; a compliance 
which would necessarily induce such a relation to Egypt 
as we find in the ritual Law : for we must remember too 
what hath been likewise shewn, that the ends of a divine 
and human Lawgiver, both using the common means of 
a SEPARATION, are vastly different ; the latter only 



aiming to keep the people unmixed ; the former, to keep 
them pure from idolatry. Now, in both cases, where 
the People are dealt with as free agents, some compliance 
to their prejudices will be necessary. But as, in the 
Institutions of a human Lawgiver pretending only to 
inspiration, such compliance in the RITUAL would 
be subject to the danger here spoken of; and as com 
pliance in the FUNDAMENTALS, such as the object of 
Worship, a future State, and mode of civil Government, 
would not be so subject; and, at the same time, would 
win most forcibly on a prejudiced people, to the pro 
moting the Legislator s end\ we must needs conclude 
that these would be the things he would comply with 
and espouse. On the other hand, as a divine Law giver 
could not comply in these things ; and as a RITUAL, 
like the Mosaic, was the only means left of gaining his 
end; we must conclude that a divine Lawgiver vvouU 
make his compliance on that side. 

1. Let me only add one corollary to our BELIEVING 
ADVERSARIES, as a farther support of this part of the 
proposition ; " That allowing the Ritual-law to be ge 
nerally instituted in reference to Egyptian and other 
neighbouring Superstitions, the divine wisdom of the 
contrivance will be seen in redoubled lustre. One reason, 
as we have seen above, of the opposition to the notion of 
such a reference is, that the RITUAL LAW WAS TYPICAL, 
not only of things relating to that Dispensation, but to 
the Evangelical. This then they take for granted ; and, 
as will be shewn hereafter, with good reason. Now an 
Institution of a body of Rites, particularly and minutely 
levelled against, and referring to, the idolatrous prac 
tices of those ages; and, at the same time, as minutely 
typical, not only of all the remarkable transactions under 
that Dispensation, but likewise of all the great and con 
stituent parts of a future one, to arise in a distant age, 
and of a genius directly opposite, must needs give an 
attentive considerer the most amazing idea of divine 
wisdom *. And this I beg leave to offer to the consi 

* Hear what the learned Spencer says on this occasion: " Atque 
" hac in re Dens sapiential surc specimen egregiurn edidit, et illi non 
" absimile quod in mundo frequenter observamus : in eo em in, 
** iiotante Verulamio, dum natura aliud agit, provident ia aliud elicit ; 

" uam 

deration of the unprejudiced Reader, as another strong 


2. Let me add another corollary to the UNBELIEVING 
JEWS. We have seen at large how expedient it was for 
the Jews of the first ages, that the* Ritual or ceremonial 
Law should be directed against the several idolatries of 
those ages. It was as expedient for the Jews of the 
later ages that this Law shoulJ be TYPICAL likewise. 
For had it not been typical, God would have given a 
Law whose reason would have ceased many ages before 
the Theocracy was abolished : and so have afforded a 
plausible occasion to the Jews for changing or abrogating 
them, on their own head. 

3. Let me add a third corollary to the UNBELIEVING 
GENTILES. The Law s being typical obviates their 
foolish argument against Revelation, that the abolition 
of the Mosaic religion and the establishment of the Chris 
tian in its stead, impeaches the wisdom of God, as im 
plying change and inconstancy in his acting ; for by his 
making the Law typical, the two religions are seen to 
be the two parts of 0113 and the same design. 

The great Maimonides, who first * explained the 
CAUSES of the Jewish Ritual in any reasonable manner 
(and who, to observe it by the way, saw nothing in the 
LAW but temporal sanctions), was so struck with the 
splendour of divinity, which this light reflected back 
upon the law. that in the entry on his subject he breaks 
out into this triumphant boast, EA TIBI EXPLICAIJO UT 


" nam frondibus quas natura, ronsuetudinem suam retinens, parit, 
" utitur providentia ad coeli injurias a fructu tenello propulsandas. 
* c Pari modo, cum liebneorum natio, consuetudinem suam exuere 
" nescia, ritus antiques impense desideraret. Deus eorum desiderio 
" se morigerum praebebat ; sed eorura ruditate & impotentia puerili 
ad fines egregios & sapientia sua ditnos utebatur. Sic enim ritus 
" antiques populo indultos-, circumstantiis quibusdam demptis aut 
" additis, immutavit, ut rerurn ccelestium schema reprsesentarent, 
" oculis purgatioribus facile percipiendum ; adeo ut Deus puerilibus 
" Israelitarum studiis obsequens, divina promoveret." De Leg. 
Heb. Kit. p. 218. 

* In his More Nevoch. Par. III. Arid see note [GGGGG] at 
<JS% end of this Boe 



Thus the Reader sees what may be gained by fairly 
and boldly submitting to the force of evidence. Such a 
manifestation of the divinity of the Law, arising out of 
the Deist s own principles, as is sufficient to cover him 
with confusion ! 

And what is it, we lose ? Nothing sure very great or 
excellent. The imaginary honour of being original in 
certain Rites (considered in themselves) indifferent; and 
becoming i^ood or bad bv comparison, or by the authority 
which enjoins them, and by the object to which they are 

The Deist indeed pretends that, in the things borrowed 
from Egypt, the first principles of Law and Morality, 
and the very tritest customs of civil life, are to be in 
cluded. The extravagance of this fancy hath been 
exposed elsewhere *. But as it is a species of folly all 
parties are apt to give into, it may not be amiss to con 
sider this matter of TRADUCTIVE CUSTOMS a little more 

There is nothing obstructs our discoveries in Antiquity 
(as far as concerns the noblest end of this study, the 
knowledge of mankind) so much as that false, though 
undisputed Principle, that the general customs of men, 
whether civil or religious, (in which a common likeness 
connects, as in a chain, the Manners of its inhabitants, 
throughout the whole globe) are traductive from one 
another. When, in truth, the origin of this general 
similitude is from the sameness of one common Nature, 
improved by reason, or debased by superstition. But 
when a custom, whose meaning lies not upon the surface, 
but requires a profounder search, is the subject of in 
quiry, it is much easier to tell us that the users borrowed 
it from such or such a people, than rightly to inform us, 
what common principle of REASON or SUPERSTITION 
gave birth to it in both. 

How many able writers have employed their time and 
learning to pro?e that Christian Rome borrowed their 
superstitions from the Pagan city ! They have indeed 
* See book ii. 



shewn an exact and surprising likeness in a great variety 
of instances. But the conclusion from thence ? that, there 
fore, the Catholic borrowed from the Heathen, as plau 
sible as it may seem, is, I think, a very great mistake ; 
which the followers of this hypothesis might have under 
stood without the assistance of the principle here laid 
down : since the rise of the superstitious customs in 
question were many ages later than the conversion of 
that imperial city to the Christian Faith : consequently, 
at the time of their introduction, there were no PAGAN 
prejudices which required such a compliance from the 
ruling Clergy. For this, but principally for the ge 
neral reason here advanced, I am rather induced to 
believe, that the very same spirit of superstition, ope 
rating in equal circumstances, made both Papists and 
Pagans truly originals. 

But does this take off from the just reproach which the 
Reformed have cast upon the Church of Rome, for the 
practice of such Rites, and encouragement of such Su 
perstitions? Surely not; but rather strongly fixes it. In 
the former case, the rulers of that Church had been 
guilty of a base compliance with the infirmities of their 
new converts : in the latter, the poison of superstition 
is seen to have infected the very vitals of its Hie 
rarchy *. 

But then, truth will fare almost as ill when a right, as 
when a wrong principle, is pushed to an extravagance. 
Thus, as it would be ridiculous to deny, that the Roman 
laws of the Twelve Tables were derived from the Greeks, 
because we have a circumstantial history of their traduc- 
tion : so it would be equally foolish not to own, that a 
great part of the Jewish ritual was composed in reference 
to the superstitions of Egypt; because their long abode 
in the country had made the Israelites extravagantly fond 
of Egyptian customs : but to think (as some Deists seem 
to have done) that they borrowed from thence their com 
mon principles of morality, and the legal provisions for 
the support of such principles f, is, whether we con 
sider the Israelites under a divine or human direction, a 

* See note [HHHHH] at tbe end. 
f See Marsham. 



thing equally absurd ; and such an absurdity as betrays 
the grossest ignorance of human nature, and the history 
of mankind. 

And thus much concerning the ANTIQUITY of Egypt, 
and its EFFECTS on the Divine Legation of Moses. 




P. 74- [A] 

TT\ II. Prideaux, in his learned Connexions, has indeed 
^-^ told us a very entertaining story of ZOROASTRES : 
whom, of an early Lawgiver of the Bactrians, Dr. Hyde 
had made a late false prophet of the Persians, and the 
preacher-up of one God in the public religion ; which 
doctrine, however, this learned man supposes to be 
stolen from the Jews. But the truth is, the whole is a 
pure fable; contradicts all learned antiquity; and is 
supported only by the ignorant and romantic relations 
of late Persian writers under the Califes ; who make 
Zoroastres contemporary with Darius Hystaspis, and ser 
vant to one of the Jewish prophets ; yet, in another fit 
of lying, they place him as early as Moses : they even 
say he was Abraham ; nay, they stick not to make him 
one of the builders of Babel. It may be thought strange 
how such crude imaginations, however cooked up, could 
be deemed serviceable to Revelation, when they may 
be so easily turned against it ; for all falsehood is natu 
rally on the side of unbelief. I have long indeed looked 
when some minute philosopher would settle upon this 
corrupted place, and give it the infidel taint. And just 
as 1 thought, it happened. One of them having 
grounded upon this absurd whimsy the impious slander 
of the Jews having received from the followers of 
Zoroastres, during the captivity, juster notions of God 
and his providence than they had before. See The Mo 
ral Philosopher, vol. i. and vol. ii. p. 144. Another 
of these Philosophers makes as good an use of his Indian 
Bracmanes, and their Vedam and Ezourvedam ; for this 
Vedam is their Bible, as the Zend or Zendavesta is the 
Bible of the fire worshippers in Persia, and both of them 
apparent forgeries since the time of Mahomet to oppose 
to the Alcoran. Yet M. Voltaire says, of his Ksipfaiov, 
the Ezourvedam, that it is apparently older than the con 
quests of Alexander, because the rivers > towns, and 



countries, are called by their old names, before they 
were new christened by the Greeks. Get ancien Com- 
incntaire du Vedam me parait ecrit avant les conquetes 
d Alexandre, car on n y trouve aucun des norns que le 
vaiaqueurs Grecs itnposerent aux fieuves, aux villes, 
aux contrees. Additions a FHist. Generale, p. 23, 24. 
Which is just as wise, as it would be to observe, that 
the Sarazin and Turkish annals were written before the 
conquests of Alexander, because we find in them none 
of the names which the Greeks imposed on the rivers, 
the cities, and the countries, which they conquered in 
the Lesser Asia, but their ancient names, by which they 
were known from the earliest times. It never came into 
the Poet s head that the Indians and Arabians might be 
exactly of the same humour, to restore the native names 
to the places frem which the Greeks had driven them. 

P. 7,5. [BJ juevu & TM Efya/w ybu rr,v EIIOnTEIAN 
aWJiOaVOai TTK EnPIAS T rZv oXuv laWs ^ AHMIOTP- 
TOT , xj Til? e\s uvrov aAjjQaV turo&i af. Praep. Evang. 
1. i. c. ix. p. 20. As the imaginary interest of religion 
engaged Dr. Prideaux to espouse the Persian tale of 
Zoroastres ; so the same motive induced those excellent 
persons, Stillingfleet, Cudworth, and Newton, to take 
the affirmative in the general question, whether the one 
true God had ever been publicly worshipped out of 
Judea, between the introduction of general idolatry, and 
the birth of Christ. As this determination of the gene 
ral question is no less injurious to Revelation than the 
particular of Zoroastres, we may be assured no less 
advantage would be taken of it. Lord Bolingbroke saw 
to what use it might be applied, and has therefore in- 
forced it to the discredit of Judaism: indeed, with his 
usual address, by entangling it in a contradiction. But 
those other venerable names will make it necessary 
hereafter to examine both the one and the other question 
at large. 

P. 82. [C] See Shuckford s Sacred and Profane His 
tory of the World connected, vol. ii. edit. 2 p. 317 327. 
Our countryman Gale, in. the like manner, is for de 
riving all arts and sciences, without exception, from 



the Jews tc Arithmetic, he says, it is evident, had its 
" foundation from God himself; for the first computa- 
" tion of time is made by God, Gen. i. .5, &c. And as 
< for navigation, though some ascribe it to the Pheni- 
<s cians ; yet it is manifest the first idea thereof was 
" taken from Noah s ark. It is as plain that geography 
" traduced its first lines from the Mosaic description of 
" the several plantations of Noah s posterity." Court 
of the Gentiles, part i. p. 1 8. Who would not think 
but the learned man, and learned he really was in good 
truth, was disposed to banter us, had he not given so 
sad a proof of his being in earnest as the writing three 
bulky volumes to support these wonderful discoveries. 

P. 83. [D] See Ganon Chron. Secul. v. tit. Circum* 
cisio. I decline entering into this controversy for two 
reasons : i. Because, which way soever the question be 
decided, the truth of the Mosaic account will be nothing 
affected by it; for the Scripture no where says, that 
Abraham was the first man, circumcised; nor is the 
prior use of this rite amongst men, any argument against 
God s enjoining him to observe it. The pious bishop 
Cumberland little thought he was disserving religion, 
when he followed an interpretation of the fragment of 
Sanchoniatho, which led him to conclude [Remarks on 
Sanction s Phoen. Hist. p. 150.] that whole nations had 
practised circumcision before Abraham : but I quote 
this great man, not for the weight of his opinion in a 
matter so unconcerning, but as an example of that can 
dour of mind and integrity of heart, without which the 
pursuit of truth is a vainer employment than the pursuit 
of butterflies. A less able and a less ingenious man, 
with not a tenth part of this noble writer s invention, 
would have had a thousand tricks and fetches to recon* 
cile the first institution of this rite in Abraham to the 
high antiquity he had given to Cronus. Another ex* 
ample of a contrary conduct, in a writer of equal ac* 
count, will shew us how much this ingenuity is to be 
esteemed in men of learning, The excellent Dr. Ham 
mond, misled by the party-prejudices of his time; had 
persuaded himself to believe, that the prophecies of the 
Apocalypse related only to the first ages of the Christian 

Church : 


Church ; and that the book was written, not, a? Irenaeus 
supposed, about the end of Domitian s reign, but, as 
Epiphanius affirmed, in Claudius Caesar s. To this, 
there were two objections; First, that then the prophecy, 
which, on Hammond s system, related to the destruc 
tion of Jerusalem, would be of an event past : while the 
prophecy speaks of it as a thing future. To this he 
replies, That it was customary with the Prophets to 
speak of things past as of things to come. So far was 
well. But then the second objection is, That if this 
were the time of writing the Revelations, Antipas, who 
is said, c. ii. ver. 13. to have been martyred, was yet 
alive. No matter for that, it was customary with the 
Prophets, as he tells us on the other hand, to speak of 
things to come as of things past. And all this within 
the compass of two pages. 2. The other reason for my 
not entering into this matter is, because it is not my in 
tention to examine (except occasionally) any particular 
question of this kind. This hath been done already. 
What I propose is to prove in general, that many of the 
positive institutions of the Hebrews were enjoined in op 
position to the idolatrous customs of the Egyptians ; and 
that some bearing a conformity to those customs, and 
not liable to be abused to superstition, were indulged to 
them, in wise compliance with the prejudices which long 
use and habit are accustomed to induce. 

P. 87. [E] The recovery of exhausted fertility by 
compost, seems not to have been a very early invention. 
For though Homer describes Laertes in his rural occupa 
tions as busied in this part of agriculture; yet Hesiod, in 
a professed and detailed poem on the subject, never once 
mentions the method of dunging land. Not that I regard 
this circumstance as any sure proof to determine the 
question of Hesiod s priority in point of time. It may 
be well accounted for, by supposing, that they described 
particular places in the state they were then found, some 
more and some less advanced in the arts of civil life. 

P. 89. [F] Here let rne observe, that this represen 
tation of the high and flourishing state of Egypt, in these 
early times, greatly recommends trie truth of the Samari- 

VOL. IV. B B tan 


tan chronology, and shews how much it is to be pre 
ferred to the Hebrew. See the learned and judicious 
M. LEONARD in his Observations sur Fantiquite des 
Hieroglyphes sclent ifiques, p. 339, 2dvol. 

P. 90. [G] The various disasters to which determined 
disputants are obnoxious from their own proper tem 
pers, would make no unentertaining part of literary 
history. A learned writer undertaking to confute the 
Egyptian pretensions to their high antiquity, thinks it 
proper first to shew, that they did indeed pretend to it. 
And this, it must be owned, he does effectually enough. 
His words are these: " Et profecto, ab ANTJQUISSIMIS 
" TEMPOKiBUshac vanitate infecti erant: dicebat enim, 
" ipso Isaias tempore, purpuratorum quisque Pharaoni 
" se esse Jilmm regum antiquissiinorum." Spicilegia 
antiq. Egypt. c. autore Gul. Jameson. Now r , could 
any thing be more unlucky? The author only meant to 
introduce his system by this flourish ; and in introducing 
it, he confutes it. For can there be a better evidence of 
the high antiquity of any people, than that they claimed it 
from the most ancient times? from times lonj preceding 
that general vanity of a high antiquity, which had in 
fected the nations, and prompted them to support their 
claims ag;ainst one another, by forged evidence and un~ 
philosophic reasoning? Not to sav, that this high an 
tiquity is acknowledged by the Prophet also : the force 
of whose exultation depends on the truth of it. For 
what reason was there to insist so much on the power and 
wisdom of God in destroying the counsel of Egypt, if 
Pharaoh and his Counsellors, only pretended to be, but 
\vere not, wise: nor yet, the sons of ancient kings? 

P. 93. [H] Chasremon, who, as we are told by 
Josephus, wrote the history of Egypt, calls Moses and 
Joseph scribes ; and Joseph a sacred scribe, fyMai 
#u~ui< ypzppalsots MwUtrw T? xai IH2HI1ON. xai TXTW 
lEPOFPAMMATEA, cont. Ap. lib. i. It is true, the 
historian has confounded times, in making Joseph con 
temporary with Moses : but this was a common mistake 
amongst the Pagans. Justin the epitomizer of Trogus 
Pornpeius calls Moses the son of Joseph Filius ejus 



[Joseph] Moses fuit, quern prater paterna sclent itf 
htfrcditatem, fyc. lib. xxxvi. cap. 2. Those learaed 
men therefore are mistaken, who, for this reason, would 
have it that Ch&remon, by Joseph, meant Joshua. 
Besides, the superior title here given to Joseph shews 
plainly we are to understand the patriarch, and not the 
companion of Moses : for though it appears from Scrip 
ture that Joseph and Moses were related to, and edu 
cated by the Egyptian Priesthood, yet we have not the 
least reason to think that Joshua had ever any concern 
with them ; being held with the rest of his brethren in a 
state of servitude, remote from the benefit of that educa 
tion, which a singular accident had bestowed upon 

P- 93- [I] Hence we may collect, how ill-grounded 
that opinion is of Eupolemus and other authors, ancient 
and modern, who imagine, that Abraham first taught the 
Egyptians astrology. And indeed the contending for 
this original of the sciences seems to contradict another 
argument much in use amongst Divines, and deservedly 
so ; which answers the objection of infidels against the 
authority of the Bible, trom several inaccuracies in 
science to be met with in sacred history, by observing it 
was not God s purpose, in revealing himself to mankind, 
to instruct them in the sciences. 

P. 0,4. I K] Ev$o %ov p\v %v Xoi/apscof (pycri 

HAIOTnOAITOT Plut. de Is. & Osir. p. 632. Steph. ed. 
Here we see, each sage went for that science he w ? as 
disposed to cultivate, to its proper mart : for not only 
Pythagoras studied astronomy at Heliopolis, where it 
was professed with the greatest celebrity ; but Eudoxus 
learnt his geometry at Memphis, whose priests were tl*e 
most profound mathematicians; and Solon was instructed 
in civil wisdom at Sais, whose patron deity being Mi 
nerva (as we are told by Herodotus and Strabo) shews 
that politicks was there in most request : and this doubt 
less was the reason why Pythagoras, who, during his 
long abode in Egypt, went through all their schools, 

B E 2 chose 


.chose Minerva for the patroness of his legislation. See 
Div. Leg. Vol. I. book ii. sect. 2, 3. 

P. 96. [L] I cannot forbear on this occasion to com 
mend the ingenuous temper of another learned writer, 
far gone in the same system : who, having said all he 
could think of to discredit the antiquity and wisdom of 
Egypt, concludes in this manner : " Tandem quaeres, 
" in qua doctrina /Egyptiorum propter quam tanto- 
.-" pere celebrati erant in ipiis Script uris, viz. i Reg. 
" ch. iv. com. 30. et vii. actor urn, com. 22. Respondeo. 
non nego magnos Phllosophos, Gecmetras, & MEDI 
COS, et aliarum artium peritos fuisse in Egypto, tern- 
pore Mosis, et postea quoque. Scd sensim et gradatim 
ilia doctrina exolevit, ut omnino nihil aut parum ejus 
" permanserit." G. Jameson, Spicilegia Antiq. /Egypt. 
p. 400, i. You will ask now, What is become of his 
system ; No matter. lie is true to a better thing, the 
sacred Text : for the sake of which he took up the system ; 
and for the sake of which, upon better information, he 
lays it down again : and, like an honest man, sticks to 
his Bible at all hazards. 

P. 105. [M] Diodorus Siculus, lib. i. says, that 
Melampus was in the number of those civilizers of 
Greece, who went, to n t themselves for that employ 
ment, into Egypt: and, as Orpheus proceeded thence a 
legislator and philosopher ; so .Melampus, whose bent 
lay another way, commenced physician and diviner ; 
those two arts being, as we have said, professed together 
in Egypt. Apollodorus says, he was the first who cured 
diseases by medicinal potions. TW hx (pocppxxwv xa\ KaQap- 
^wi* Stpairiiuv -urpu-rot; tiipww meaning the first among 
the Greeks. As this Greek went to Egpyt to be in 
structed in his craft, so we meet with an Egyptian who 
went to practise the very same trade in Greece : 

yap xwv EX 

JEsch. IXCT. p. 316. Stanl. ed. 



As to what is said of his being the son of Apollo, we must 
understand it in the sense of Homer, where he speaks of 
the Egyptian physicians in general : 

IHTPO2 J 1 ! fx^r^* iirtretf4&& -STE/SI -nravjav 


P. i 15. [N] Nothing can be more unjust or absurd 
than the accusation of Joseph s making the free monarchy 
of Egypt despotic : for allowing it did indeed at this time 
suffer such a revolution, who is to be esteemed the author 
of it but Pharaoh himself? Joseph indeed was prime 
minister; but it does not appear that his master was of 
that tribe of lazy monarciis, who intrust their sceptre to 
the hands of their servants. Moses describes him as 
active, vigilant, jealous of his authority, anxious for his 
country, and little indulgent to his officers of state. But 
the terms in which he invests Joseph in his office, shew 
that office to be purely ministerial ; Thou shalt be over 
my house, and according to thy word shall all my people 
THAN THOU. [Gen. xli. 40.] i. e. thou shalt administer 
justice, but I will reserve to myself the prerogative of 
giving law. It is highly reasonable therefore, when we ; 
find, in so concise a history as the Mosaic, Joseph bid 
ding the people give their money, their cattle, and their 
lands for bread, to suppose that he only delivered to 
them the words of Pharaoh, who would supply their 
wants on no other conditions. 

P. 1 16. [O] This is the general sentiment of Anti 
quity : and as generally embraced by modern writers. 
Kircher makes it the foundation of his Theatrum Hiero- 
glypfucwn, and so consequently hath written a large 
volume full of the most visionary interpretations. The 
great principle, he goes upon, as he himself tells us, is 
this: Hierogiyphica . Egyptiortim doctrina nihil aliud 
est, quam Arcana de Deo, divinisque Ideis, Angelis, 
Dremonibus, caeterisque mundanarum potestatum classi- 
bus ordinibusque scientia, SAXIS potissimurn insculpta. 
(Edip-us jEgyptiacus, torn. iii. p. 4. Dr. Wilkins follows 
the received opinion in the general division of his subject, 
in his Essay towards a real Character : For speaking of i 
B B 3 notes 


notes for secrecy, suck (says he) were the Egyptian 
hieroglyphics. Yet he adds, with his usual penetration, 
it seems to me questionable whether the Egyptians did 
not at jirst use their hieroglyphics us a mere shift for the 
want of letters, cts. was done by the Mexicans, p. 12. 
And this was all his subject led him to say of the Egyp 
tian Hieroglyphics. Servius had gone further, and 
asserted the priority of hieroglyphics without a doubt. 
Annus enim secunduni JEgyptipfc indicabatur, ante in* 
ventas literas, picto dracone caudam suarn mordente. 
Apud Virg. ^En. 1. v. ver. 85. 

P. 120. [P] The ship and pilot, bearing this signi 
fication, would, of course, be much used in the descrip 
tions of their mysteries, in which, as we have shewn, 
the knowledge of the Governor of the universe wa<* part 
of the atTT&ppnla : and so we find it more than once deli 
neated in the Bembine Table. Kircher, according to 
custom, makes it full of sublime knowledge ; but the 
plain truth is no more than this above. Tacitus, speak 
ing of the religion of the Suevians, says they worshipped 
Isis; he could not conceive how lids came about, 
only the figure of a galley, under which image she was 
represented, shewed that the worship was imported from 
abroad. u Pars Suevorum & Isim sacrificat : unde 
causa & origo peregrino sacro, panun eowiperi, nisi quod 
signum ipsum, in moclum LiBUR.x.i figuratum, docet 
advectam reli^ionem." De Morib. Germ, c ix. The 
latter part of which period Mr. Gordon has thus trans 
lated, unless the figure <>f her image formed like a galley 
sheived, &c. But nisi quod does not signify unless, as 
implying any doubt, but saving only. So the same 
author, De Mor. Ger. c. xxv. " Occidere solent non 
" disciplina et severitate, sed impetu et ira, utinimicum, 
4( nisi quod impune." Tacitus could tell no more of the 
original than this, that the worship of Isis was imported, 
because her image was made in the figure of a galley. In 
this he was positive; but for all this, not the less mis 
taken. It was indeed imported ; but the galley was no 
mark of that original. Straho tells us, in his fourth book, 
that, in an island near Britain, they performed the same 
mysterious rites to Ceres and Proserpine as were used in 



Samothrace. Ceres and Isis were the same. The Phe- 
nician seamen, without doubt, brought them thither, as 
likewise to the Suevians inhabiting the coasts of the Ger 
man ocean. The Governor of the universe was taught in 
these mysteries. Isis was represented by the later 
Egyptians to be the Governor of the universe, as we have 
seen before, in a discourse on the Metamorphosis of 
Apuleius. But the governor of the universe was deli 
neated, in their hieroglyphics, by a ship and pilot. 
Hence, amongst the Suevians, Isis was worshipped 
under the form of a galley, and not because her religion 
was of foreign growth : And so amongst the Romans, 
which Tacitus did not advert to. For in the calendarium 
rusticum amongst the inscriptions of Gruter, in the 
month of March, an Egyptian holyday is marked under 
the title of ISIDIS NAVIGIUM. The ceremonies on this 
holyday are described in Apuleius Met. 1. ii. It was a 
festival of very high antiquity amongst the Egyptians : 
and seems to be alluded to in these words of the Prophet 
Isaiah : Wo to the land shadowing with wings that 
sendeth ambassadors by the sea even in VESSELS OF BUL 
RUSHES upon the waters, saying, Go ye swift messen 
gers, $c. chap, xviii. ver. i, 2. 

P. 122. [Q] The original is, xai ruv honruv 

TH? i8f TWV $"Qi%iuv *f*x3f?pfw. There is a small fault 
in this reading ; it should be T? TE Itpes, with the con 
junction : The corruption helped to mislead Cumberland, 
who translates, and formed the sacred characters of the 
other elements [p. 38. of his Sanchoniathos Phenician his 
tory] ; which looks as if the learnjed prelate understood 
by Voix 5</wl/ > tne elements of nature-, C&lum or Ouranos 
having (as he supposed) been mentioned before, as de 
lineated or engraved by Taautus : but STOIXEmN sig 
nifies the elements of hieroglyphic writing, and AOIWWU 
refers not to that, but to 3-w just above; which further 
appears from wiiat follows TOK 31 AoiwotV 3-soZV ; other 
wise, only Dagon is left, for these words, roZV AOTTOK 
Snots to be applied to. Sanchoniatho had said that 
Taautus represented the gods in a new invented hiero 
glyphic character ; and then goes on to tell us that he in 
vented other hieroglyphic characters, whether by figures 

B B 4 or 


Or marks ; for I apprehend that Isgxs TUV foi^tiM ;*p*xK/*f 
principally designs that part of hieroglyphic writing 
which was by marks, not figures : for without doubt, at 
fir^-t *, the Egyptians used the same method as the 
Mexicans, who. we are told, expressed in their hiero- 
glyphic writing, those things which had form, by figures; 
others by arbitrary marks. See p. iis, note (*f). But 
we sliall see, that when the Egyptians employed this 
writing for the vehicle of their secrets, they then invented 
the forms of things to express abstract ideas. However, 
that this is the meaning of WXIMV s further evident from 
this place of Eusebius, where he speaks of a quotation 
of Philo s, from a work of Sanchoniatho, concerning the 
Phenician elements, $oiv<W S-<HX*!UV ; which work, as 
appears by tiis account of the quotation, treated of the 
nature of several animals. But we have shewn how 
much the study of natural history contributed to the com 
position of hieroglyphic characters. 

P. 123. [R] At the time this account was first given 
to the public, the learned Dr. Richard Pococke coming 
fresh from Egypt, thought it incumbent on him to con 
tradict that Egyptian learning which was only conceived 
at home. But as, by a common practice of prudent men, 
he had not mentioned me by name, it was thought I had 
no right to reply. Let the reader judge of one, by the 
other. This learned and indeed candid writer, in his 
book of trave s, has a chapter, On the ancient hierogly 
phics of Egypt ; in which he expresseth himself as 
follows : fl It hieroglyphieal figures stood for words or 
" sounds that signified certain things, the power of hie- 
" roglyphics see; us to be the same as of a number of 
" letters composing such a sound, that by agreement 
" was made to signify such a thing. For hieroglyphics, 
f< as words, seem to have stood for sounds, and sounds 
" signify things ; as for instance, it might have been 
<: agreed that ^he figure of a crocodile misjht stand for 
" the sound that meant what we call malice: the chil- 
l< dren of the priests were early taught that the figure of 

* This Eustathius intimates in these words, speaking of the most 

T 1 1" ^ / ^ / ** I \ ^ t^ 

ancient Kgyptian hieroglyphics, vjta T<vjt itooy\vfy&v\iC) K* AOMro$ Jl 

"?. in Iliad, vi. ver. 168. 

" a cro- 


" a crocodile stood for such a sound, and, if they did 

lf not know the meaning ol the sound, it would certainly 

" stand *<ith them for a sound; though, as the sound, 

" it signified also a quality or thing; and they might 

" alter vvaids be taught t iic meaning of this sound; 

" as words are only sounds, which sounds we agree 

" shah Dignify such and such things; so that, to chil- 

" dren, words only stand for -ocncis, which relate to 

" such things as they know nothing of; and, in this 

" sense, we say children learn many things like par- 

" rots, what they do not understand, and their me- 

" mories are exercised only about sounds, till they 

t are instructed in the meaning o- the words. This I 

" thought it might be proper to observe, AS SOME SAY 


" WORDS, if sounds articulated in a certain manner 
" are words. And though it may be said, that in this 
" case, v\hen different nations of different languages 
" agree on common characters, that stand for certain 

things they agree on, that then such figures stand for 
" things : this will be allowed ; but then they stand for 

1 sounds too, that is, the sounds in each language that 
" signify such things : and, as observed before, to chil- 
t dren, who know nothing of the several things they 
" stand for, to them they are only rrnrks that express 
" such and such sounds : so that these figures stand not 
" for things alone, but as words, for sounds and things *." 
The design of this . passage, the reader sees, is to 
oppose the principle I went upon, in explaining the 
nature of Egyptian hieroglyphics, that they stood for 
things, and not J or words. But that is all one sees; 
for tiie learned writer s expression conforming to his ideas, 
will not suffer us to do more than guess at the proof 
which he advances : it looks, however, like this, That 
hieroglyphics cannot be said to stand for things only ; 
because things being denoted by words or sounds ; and 
hieroglyphics exciting the idea of sounds (which are the 
notes of tnings) as well as the idea of the things them 
selves, hieroglyphics stand both for sounds and things. 
This seems to be the argument put into common English. 

* Pp. 228, 229. of a book intitled, " A Description of the 
East," &c. 



But, for fear of mistaking him, let us confine ourselves 
to his own words. 

If hieroglyphical figures (says he) stood for words or 
sounds that signified certain things, the power of hiero 
glyphics seems to be the sa*ne as of a number of letters 
composing such a sound that by agreement was- made to 
signify such a thing. Without doubt, if Hieroglyphics 
stood for sounds, they were of the nature of words, which 
stand for sounds. But this is only an hypothetical pro- 
positition : let us see therefore how he addresses himself 
to prove it For hieroglyphics, AS WORDS, seem to have 
stood for sounds, and sounds signify thhigs ; as for in 
stance, it MIGHT have been agreed that the figure of # 
crocodile MIGHT stand for the same sound that meant 
what we call malice.. The propriety of the expression 
is suited to the force of the reasoning, i. Instead of 
saying, but hieroglyphics, the learned writer says, for 
hieroglyphics , which not expressing an illation, but im 
plying a reason, obscures the argument he would illus 
trate. 2. He says, Hieroglyphics, as words, seem to hare 
stood for sounds. Just before he said, hieroglyphics 
stood for words on sounds. Here they are AS words, or 
like zvordu, and seem to stand FOK sound. What are we 
to take them for ? are words sound ? or, do they stand 
for sound ? He has given us our choice. But we go on. 
3. For, he corroborates this seeming truth by an instance, 
in which the possibility of its standing for a sound is made 
a proof of its so doing. It MIGHT (says he) Jwve 
been agreed that the figure of a crocodile MIGHT 

But he is less diffident in what follows. The children 
of the priests were early taught that the figure of a 
crocodile stood for such a sound, and if they did not 
know the meaning of the sound, it would certainly stand 
ivith them for a sound. This indeed is an anecdote : 
but where did he learn that the children, before they 
could decipher the sounds of their own language, w T ere 
taught hieroglyphics ? Till now, hieroglyphics, when 
got into exclusive hands, were understood to be reserved 
for those instructed in high and mysterious science. But 
let us suppose that they were taught to children amongst 
their first elements : yet even then, as we shall. see from 



the nature of the thing, they could never stand as marks 
for words or sounds. When a child is taught the power 
of letters, he learns that the letters, which compose cue 
word, malice, for instance, express the smtna , which, 
naturally arising from a combination oi the several powers 
of each letter, shews him that the letters stand lor such a 
sound or word. Lut when he is taught that the figure or 
picture of a crocodile signifies malice, lie is naturally and 
necessarily conceives though he knows not tiie meaning 
of the word] that it stands for some thing, signified by 
that word, and not for a sou-nd : because there is no 
natural connexion bet ween Jigure and a sowtd, as there 
is bet ween figure, and a thing. And the only reason why 
the word malice intervenes, in this connexion, is because 
of the necessity of the use of words to distinguish things, 
and rank them into sorts. But the veriest child could 
never be so simple as to conceive that, when he was told 
the figure of a beast with four short legs and a long tail 
signified malice, that it signified the sound of malice : any 
more than if he were told it signified a crocddife, that it 
signified the sound of the word crocodile. The truth is, 
the ignorant often mistake words for things, but never, 
things for word.s : that is, they frequently mistake the 
name of a thing for its nature : and rest contented in 
the knowledge which that gives them : Like him who, on 
the sight of a pictured elephant, inquiring what the 
creature was, on his being answered, that it was the 
great Czar, asked no further, but went away well satis 
fied in his acquaintance with that illustrious Stranger. 
Yet I apprehend he did not understand his informer to 
mean tiiat it sign fied only the sound of that word. 
Perhaps the learned writer will object, that the cases 
are different ; that the elephant was a mere picture, and 
the crocodile a sign or mark. But I have shewn at large 
that the ancient Egyptian hieroglvphics were at first mere 
pictures; and that all the alteration they received, in be 
coming marks, was only the having their general use of 
conveying knowledge rendered more extensive and expe 
ditious, more mysterious and profound ; while they still 
continued to be the marks of things. 

To proceed; our author considers next what he ap 
prehends may be thought an objection to his opinion. 



And though (says he) it may be said that, in this case, 
where different nations of different languages agree on 
common characters, that stand for certain things they 
agree on, that then such figures stand for things. To 
which he answers, This wilt be allowed ; but then they 
stand for sounds too, that is, the sounds in each language 
that signify such things. He who can grant so much, 
and without injury to his system, need be under no fear 
of ever giving his adversary advantages. He may, if he 
pleases, say next, .when disputing about the colour of 
an object, that it is black, will be allowed ; but then it 
is white too. For a mark for things can no more be a 
mark for sounds, than black can be white. The reason 
is the same in both cases ; one quality or property ex 
cludes the other: thus, if hieroglyphic marks stand for 
things, and are used as common characters by various 
nations differing in speech and language, they cannot 
stand for sounds ; because these men express the same 
thing by different sounds ; unless, to remove this diffi 
culty, he will go farther, and say, not, as he did before, 
that one hieroglyphic word (to use his own language) 
stood for one sound, but, that it stands for an hundred. 
A^ain, if hieroglyphic marks stand for sounds, they cannot 
stand for things : not those tilings which are not signified 
by such sounds ; this he himself will allow : nor yet, I 
affirm, for those which are thus signified; because it is 
the sound which stands for the thing signified by the 
sound, and not the hieroglyphic mark. But all this 
mistake proceeded from another, namely, that WORDS 
stand both for sounds and things, which we now r come 
to. For he concludes thus, So that these figures (viz. 
hieroglyphics) stand not for things alone, but, AS 
WORDS, for sounds and things. An unhappy illustration ! 
which has all the defects, both in point of meaning and 
expression, that a proposition can well have. For, if 
by words i be meant articulated sounds, then the expres 
sion labours in the sense, as affirming, that sounds stand 
for sounds. And that he meant so is possible, because 
in the beginning of the passage quoted, he uses words 
for articulate sounds. Hieroglyphics, says he, stood for 
words OR sounds. But if, by words, he meant letters, 
(and that he might mean so is possible likewise, for he 



presently afterwards uses words in that sense too Hiero 
glyphics* <is words, says he, seem to stand for sounds) 
then the proposition is only luise : the plain truth being 
tliis, letters stand for sounds only ; which sounds they 
naturally produce ; as sounds arbitrarily denote things. 

But to be a little more particular; as in this dis 
tinction lies the judgment which is to be made, if ever 
it be rightly made, of the controversy between us. All 
this confusion of counter- reasoning proceeds, as we ob 
served before, First, from not reflecting that letters, 
which stand for words, have not, and hieroglyphics, 
which stand for things, once had not y an arbitrary, but 
a natural designation For, as the powers of letters natu 
rally produce words or sounds, so the figures of hierogly 
phics naturally signify things: either more simply, by 
representation, or more artificially by analogy : Secondly, 
from his not considering, that as w^e cannot think nor 
converse about things either accurately or intelligibly 
without words, so their intervention becomes necessary 
in explaining the marks of things. But therefore, to make 
hieroglyphics the marks of sounds, because sounds ac 
company things, would be as absurd as to make letters 
the marks of tilings, because things accompany sounds. 
And who, before our author, would say that tetters sig 
nified things as well as sounds? unless he had a mind to 
confound all meaning. If he chose to instruct, or even 
to be understood, he would say, that letters naturally 
produced sounds or words; and that words arbitrarily 
denoted things : and had our author spoken the same 
intelligible language, and told us that hieroglyphics na 
turally expressed things, and that things were arbitrarily 
.denoted by words, he would indeed have spared both of 
us the present trouble ; but then he had said nothing 
new. As it is, I cannot but suspect that this learned 
writer, though he had been in Egypt, yet found his hie 
roglyphics at home, and mistook these for the Egyptian. 
No other agreeing with his description of picture cha 
racters standing for sounds, but that foolish kind of rebus- 
writing called by the polite vulgar, hieroglyphics, the 
childish amusement of the illiterate; in which, indeed, 
the figures stand only for sounds ; sounds, divested of 



sense as well as things. Nor is Dr. Pococke the only 
polite writer who lias fallen into this ridiculous mistake. 
See a paper called THE WOULD, N XXIV. 

P. 131. [S] It may not be improper, in this place, 
just to take notice of one of the strangest fancies, that 
ever got possession of the pericranium of an Antiquary. 
It is this, that the Chinese borrowed their real charac 
ters or hieroglyphic -marks from the Egyptians. The 
author of it expresses his conceit in this manner 
" Linguam autem primitivam & barbaram vel puram, 
vel saltern parum immutatam, et politam JEgyptiorurn 
consuetudine, retinere poterant [Sinenses,] et sol urn hoc 
GENUS, ratione habita non ad iinguam ^Egyptiacam, sed 
unice ad ideas his Characteribus expressas, quos et ser- 
monis sui nativi, irnmo etiam et linguae sua3 syllabis sepa- 
ratim sumptis eodem tempore applicaverunt." De Inscr. 
yEgyptica Epist. p. 53. Authore Turbervil. Needham. 

From what hath been observed of the nature and origin 
of a REAL c i i A R A c T K ti i ii general, supported by what 
the Chinese tell us of the very high antiquity of theirs, 
it is impossible to iix upon any period of time when the 
Egyptians (\vh ther invited, or simply enabled by their 
improvements in navigation and commerce to penetrate 
into China) could find this highly policied people without 
a real character. 

The question then will be, What possible inducements 
the Chinese could have to exchange their real characters 
for the Egyptian ? benefit by this change they could 
receive none, because one real character is just as good 
as another : And men at their ease, are rarely disposed 
to change native for foreign, but with the prospect of 
some advantage. To this it may be said, " that one 
alphabetic character likewise is just as good as another: 
and yet nothing has been more common than for one 
nation to change its own alphabet for the alphabet of 
another." An instance, without doubt, very apposite. 
To change the shapes of four and twenty letters is but 
a morning s work ; and I suppose a small share of ci 
vility and complaisance might go thus far, between 



neighbours. But to throw away a million of old marks, 
and to have a million of new to learn, is an amusement 
of quite another nature. I apprehend, that such a pro 
posal (had the Egyptians made it, with an offer of all 
their learning along with it) would have much alarmed 
the indolent unenterprising temper of the Chinese. But 
the Critic seems to think, that an old character, like an 
old coat, would be willingly exchanged for a new one. 
Alas ! Time and Antiquity, which make such havock with 
the muddy vestures of decay, give a new gloss, as well 
as a stronger texture, to the spiritual clothing of ideas. 
And if their old characters were like any old coat, it 
must be such a one as Settle wore in Elysium ; which, 
as the Poet sings, had. together with its owner, received 
a new lustre in this its state of beatification : 
" All as the Vest, appeared the Wearer s frame, 
" Old in new state, another yet the same. " 
The truth is, the Chinese, who have preserved spe 
cimens of all the various revolutions in their real cha 
racters, have the highest veneration for the most ancient. 
Now is it possible to conceive that a people, thus cir 
cumstanced and disposed, should part with their native 
characters, the gift of their Demi-gods and Heroes, to 
receive others, of the same sort, from strangers : re- 
commendable for no advantage which their own did not 
possess, and partaking of all the inconveniencies to which 
their own were subject. Had the Egyptians indeed 
offered them an ALPHABET (which, were they disposed 
to be so communicative, we knew, they had^it in their 
power to do, at what time soever it can be reasonably 
supposed they first visited the coasts of China), the offer 
had been humane, and, without doubt, the benefit had 
been gratefully accepted. But that the Egyptians did 
nothing of all this, appears from the Chinese being 
without an ALPHABET to this very day. And yet I am 
persuaded, it was the confounding of these two things, 
one of which was practicable and useful,. the other useless 
and impracticable, I mean the communication of an 
Alphabet, which was common in the ancient world ; and 
the communication of a real Character, which was never 
heard of till now, I say, it was the confounding of 
these two things that gave birth to this strange conceit: 



And then the similitude of shape between the Egyptian 
and the Chinese marks, was thought to compete the 
discovery. The Letter-writer did not seem to reflect, 
that the shapes of real characters, after great improve 
ments made in them by a long course of time, such as 
the Egyptian and the Chinese, must needs have a great 
resemblance, whether the characters were formed by 
ANALOGY or INSTITUTION". In the first case, nature 
made the resemblance, as being the common archetype 
to both nations. In the latter, necessity t, for only straight 
and crooked lines being employed to form these marks, 
there must needs arise from a combination of such lines 
infinitely varied, a striking resemblance between the 
real characters of two people, though most distant 
in genius and situation. But the tolly, which such 
Conjectures! are apt to fail into, is, that, if the forms 
of the marks be alike, the powers must be alike also. 

What is here said will enable us likewise to appreciate 
another ingenious contrivance of one M. de Gidgnes, oj 
the Academy Royal of Inscriptions, $c. to get to the 
same discovery. Upon a supposition of the truth of 
what I had laid down, that the first Egyptian alphabet 
was taken from their hieroglyphic characters *, this Aca 
demician fell to work, to ANALYSE, as he terms it, the 
Chinese characters ; when to his great surprise, he found, 
that their contents were only a certain number of 
LETTERS belonging to the Oriental Alphabets, packed 
up, as it were, for carriage : which, when taken out, 
developed, and put in order, formed an Egyptian or 
Phenician word, that expressed the idea for which the 
Chinese real Character stood, as its Representatives. 
How precarious, and of how little solidity this fanciful 
Analysis is, may be understood by all who have seen 
these Chinese marks and Oriental alphabets-, both of 


* M. Warburton avoit pense que le premier Alphabet avoit em- 
J>runt6 ses elemens des Hieroglyphes memes ; et M. 1 Abbe Barthe- 
lemy avoit mis cette excellenle theoiie dans un plus grand jour, en 
plafant sur une colonne diverses Itttres ,/Egyptiennes, en corres- 
pondance avec les Hieroglyphes qui les avoient produits^. On pouvoit 
done presumer que les JEgfyptiens avoient communique aux Chinois 
les caracteres que je venois de decouvrir, mais qu ils les regardoient 
eux-m&mes alors comme des signes Hieroglyphiques, & non comme 
des lettres proprement dites. J> 1 Origine des Chinois, p. 63, 64, 


which consist of the same straight and curve lines va 
riously combined; so that it cannot be otherwise but 
that in every Chinese mark should be found, that is, 
easily imagined, a composition of any alphabetic letters 
which the profound Decipherer stands in need of. But 
the pleasantry of the conceit lies here, that though the 
Chinese have alphabetic characters (which this ingenious 
Author has, with great astonishment, now first disco 
vered) yet they themselves know nothing of the matter, 
as he at the same time has assured us *. 

I might likewise insist upon this scheme s labouring 
under the same absurdity with M. Needham s. For 
though when M. de Guignes speaks of that part of the 
Chinese real character whose marks are symbolic, or 
formed upon analogy, p. 71, 72. he is willing to have it 
believed (what his title-page enounces), th:;t China was 
inhabited by an Egyptian Colony, which carried along 
with them the Hieroglyphics they now use : yet where 
he examines that other part, consisting ot arbitrary 
marks, or marks by institution, p 64 & seq. he supposes 
them, as we see above, communicated to the Chinese 
by the Egyptians. On pouvolt done presumer (says he) 
que les Egyptiem avoient communique aux Chimis les 
caracteres queje venois de decouvrir. 

To conclude, the learned world abounds with dis 
coveries of this kind. They have all one common Origi 
nal ; the old inveterate error, that a similitude of customs 
and manners, amongst the various tribes of mankind 
most remote from one another, must needs arise from 
some communication. Whereas human nature, without 
any other help, will, in the same circumstances, always 
exhibit the same appearances. 

P. 131. [TJ L Alphabeth Ethiopien est de tous ceux 
que Ton connoit qui tient encore des Hieroglyphes. 
Fourmont, Reflexions Crit. sur les Hist, des Anc. 

* Les caracteres Chinoise dans 1 etat oil nous les avons a present, 
constituent trois sortes de caracteres ; 1 Epistolique ou ALPHABE- 
TIQUE, le hieroglyphique & le symbohque ; c est un nouveau rapport 
des plus singuliers avec 1 Egypte, qui na point etc connu jusque a 
present, QUE LES CIIINOIS EUXMEMES IOVORENT, et qui me jette 
dans le plus grand etonnement, un examen attentif me l a fait con- 
noitre, &c. Lit. Tern. 29. p. 15. 

VOL. IV. C c Peuples, 


Peuples, torn, sec. p. .501.-. Kircher illustrates this mat>- 
ter in his account of the Coptic alphabet. But -as oa 
his system every thing that relates to. Egypt is a mystery, 
thp shapes and names of the letters, of their alphabet we 
may expect to find full of profound wisdom : yet, me- 
thinks, nothing could be more natural, than for a people 
long used to, hieroglyphic characters, to employ the most 
celebrated of them, when they invented an alphabet, in 
forming the letters of it : and if the Chinese, who yet 
want an alphabet, were now to ipake one, it is not to be 
doubted but they would use the most venerable of their 
characteristic marks for the letters, of it. However, let 
us hear Kircher for the fact s sake : Ita^gyptiis natura 
comparaturn fuit, ut quemadmodum nihii. in omnibus 
eorum institutis sine mystcrio. peragebatur> ha, & in 
lingua communi, uti ex aiphabeto eorundem, mysteriosa 
literarum institutione ita concinnato,. ut nulla fere in 
eodem litera reconditorum 
que plena reperiretur, patet-. De primsevis.. /E^ypti-t 
orum literis variie. diversorum/. sunt oplniones. Omnc& 
t (i)u.c.n in hoc comcttthnit, ftlcnix tue.eiV sacroruni (uunia- 
Hnm.fonnc^ inceMii, aliarumquc carpwjy. ftartnuu idtilnte 
sywnetrio d&wmptas* Il$ Demetrius i hatereus, qui 
septem vocales assignans, septe.m Dii^ copsecratas, ait, 
easterns ex aniinaiiuin forma d^sumptas. Eusebius ad- 
fctruit idem. Theatr.. HieFoal tl p. 42-. torn. iii. of his* 
CEdip. yEgypt. As .for. this fancy,- mentioned by Deme 
trius Phalereus, it had a very different original from-, 
what Kircher; su|) posts.; being only <m enigmatic inti 
mation of the (litlereutr natures of vo.wels.and consonants.. 
The latter be.ii.ig. briite sounds without the aid of-. tb& 
former, by which they are a : , it, were animated. . . 

P. 131, [UJ The ve,ry learned amj ill author 
of a work, intitled, Recueil d Antiquite s Egyptiennes^ 
r y trusqii,e^, (jJreqques et.Roraaines, vol. I. M. the Count 
CAY.LUS, after having confuted the idle conjectures of 
certain learned men cpncernirig the contents of a sepul 
chral linen, marked over wjth Egyptian* alphabetic cha 
racters, proceeds, tbusu- IJ me, semble qu on tireroit de 
plus grands avantages de ce monument, si aulieu de 
s obstiner apercer ces t^nebres,. on taehoit, de remonter. 



par son moyeri a 1 1 origirte de Fe criture, et den suivre le 
developpeinerit et les progress: si 1 "on chefchoit enfin a 
connottre la forme des anciennes lettresy et le pays oiK 
Ton a commence a les employer. Ces questions tt tant 
d autres sernblables ne pourront jamais etre eclaircies par 
Ids teruoignages des auteurs Grecs et Latins. Souvent 
peu instruits des antiquites de leur pays, ils n ont fait 
que recueillir des traditions incertaines, et multiplier des 
doutes, auxquels eri prefereroit volontiers Tignorance la 
plus profonde: c est aux monmnens qu ori doit recourir. 
Qand ils parleront clairement, il faudra bien que leS 
anciens auteurs s accordent avec eux. Avantle com 
mencement de ce si6cle on ne connoissoit point 1 ecriture 
courante des Egyptiens, et plusieurs critiqu es la confon- 
doient tant^t avec celle des anciens H&breux, et tantot 
avec les 4 hieroglyphes ; mais depuis cette epoque il nous 
est venu plusieurs fragmens, qui ont fixe nos idees ; et il 
faut esperer que de nouvelles recherches nous en procure- 
ront un plus grand nombre. Conservons avec soin des 
restes si precieux, et tachons de les mettre en ceuvre, eh 
suivant Fexemple de celui des rnodernes, qui a repandu 
les plus grandes iiainieres sur la question de ranti quit6 
des lettres. Mi Wai burton a detruit 1 erreur ovi Ton 
etoit que les pretres Egypdens avoieht invente les hiero- 
glyphes pour cacher leur science : il a distingue trois 
epoques principales dans Tart de se communiquer les 
idees par ecrit : sous la premiere, 1 ecriture n etoit qu une 
simple representation des objets, une veritable peinture ; 
sous la scconde, elle ne consistoit qu en hieroglyphes, 
c est-a-dire, en une peinture abr^gee, qui, par exemple, 
an lieu de -representer un objet entier, n en representoit 
qu une partie, un rapport, &c. Enfin sous la troisieme 
epoque; les hieroglyphes alteres dans leurs traits devin- 
rent les Siemens d urie ecriture courante : M. Warburton 
auroit pvi mettre cette excellent^ theorie ct portee de tout 1 
le monde, en placant dans une premiere colomne une*- 
suite d hieroglyphes, et dans une seconde les lettres qui fi 
en sont d^rivees ; n^ais sans doute que les borhes qu il : " 
s etoit prescrites ne lui ; ont pas permis d entrer dans ce^ 
detail. Quoi <\ui\ soit, tous ceUx qui -rechercherit TorP 
gine des arts et des connoissances humaines, peuvent * 
verifier le syst^me du scavant Anglois, et se convaincre 

c c 2, 


que les lettrcs Egyptiennes ne sont quo des hieroglyphes 
deguises. Nous avons assez de secours pour entreprendre 
cet examin. Les recueils des antiquaires offrent plu- 
sieurs monumens Egyptiennes charges d hieroglyphes : 
et la seule bande de toile que Ton public ici [PI. N 21, 
2*:, 23, 24, 25.] suffiroit pour donner une idee de 
I ecriture courante de s assurer que 1 alphabet de la 
langue Egyptienne emanoit des hieroglyphes, il suffira 
d avoir un assez grande quantite des lettres isole es, et de 
comparer avec les figures representees sur les monumens 
Egyptians. Or je puis assurer que Ton appercevra 
entr elles la liaison la plus inlime, et les rapports les plus 
sensibles ; et pour s en convaincre, on n a qu a jetter les 
yeux sur le N I. de la XXVI. planche. J y ai fait 
graver sur une premiere colomne une suite d hieroglyphes 
tires la plupart des obelisques, et dans une colomne 
correspondaritc, les lettrcs Egyptiennes qui viennent de 
ces hierodyphes. On trouvera, par exernple, que le 
premier hieroglyphe reprcsentant une barque, a produit 
un element d ecriture, dont la valeur a pu varier, sui- 
vant les points ou les traits dont il etoit aflecte : que le 
troisieme hieroglyphe, qu on croit etre Timage d une porte, 
en perdant son arrondissement a forme la lettre qui lui 
est . parallele ; que la figure d homme ou d animal accrou- 
pie an N 4. est dcvenue une lettre qui ne conserve que 
les .lineamens du symbole original ; enfin que le serpent 
figure si souvent sur les monumens Egyptiens, N 19. 
s est change en un caractere qui retiac3 encore aux 
yeux les sinuosites de ce reptile. On trouvera aussi que 
Fautres hieroglyphes., tels que le 2. le 5. le 6. le n. le 
13, &c. ont passe dans I ecriture courante, sans eprou- 
ver le moindre changcment. Au reste, ce n est ici 
que le leger essai d une operation qui pourroit etre 
pouss^e plus loin, et dans laquelle on appercevroit 
peut^tre des rapports differens de ceux que j ai eta- 
blis ,entre certaines lettres Egyptiennes prouve visible- 
ment leur origine; et plus il est approfondi, plus ii 
sert k confinner le sentiment de M. Warburton, 
p. 69. Thus far this learned person. I have borrowed 
the scheme he refers to, and the reader will find it 
marked, Plate VIL 

. P. 132. 


P. 132. [X] M. Voltaire, in a discourse intitled, 
Nouveau plan de ITlistoire de 1 Esprit humain, speak 
ing of the Chinese printing, which is an impression from 
a solid block, and not by movable types, says they have 
not adopted the latter method, out of attachment to their 
old usages On sait que cette Imprimerie est une gra- 
vure sur des planches de bois. L Art de graver les 
caracteres mobiles et de fonte, beaucoup superieure a 
la leur, n a point encore ete adopte par CUJL\ TANT ILS 


desire to know of M. Voltaire, how it was possible for 
them to adopt the method of a Font of types or movable 
characters, unless they had an alphabet. That they had 
no such, M. Voltaire very well knew, as he gives us to 
understand, in the same place. L art de faire connoitre 
ses idees par 1 ecriture, qui devroit n etre qu une methode 
tres simple, est chez eux ce qu ils ont de plus difficile; 
chaque mot a des characteres differens : un savant a la 
Chine est celui qui connoit le plus de ces caracteres, 
et quelques uns sont arrives a la vieillesse avant que de 
savoir bien ecrire. Would not Caslon or Baskerville be 
finely employed to make a font of letters for this people, 
who have so many millions of real characters ? But this 
historian of men and manners goes on in the same ramb 
ling incoherent manner, and so he can but discredit the 
Jewish history he cares little for the rest. Qui leur donne 
une superiorite reconnue sur tons ceux qui raportent 
1 origine des autres nations, c est qu on n y voit aucun 
prodige aucune prediction, aucune meine de ces four- 
beries politiques que nous attribuons aux Fondateurs des 
autres Etats, excepte peut-tre ce qu on a impute a 
Four, d avoir fait accroire qu il avoit vu ses Loix ecrites 
sur le dos d un serpent aile. Cette imputation meme 
fait voir qu on connaissait 1 ecriture avant Fold. Enfin, 
ce n est pas a nous, au bout de notre Occident, a con- 
tester les archives d une nation que etait toute policee 
quand nous n etions que des Sauvages First, China has 
the advantage of the western world, because the Founders 
of its religious policy employed neither Miracles nor 
Prophecies, nor the Founders of its civil policy state 
tricks and cheats, like other Leaders. And yet he is 
forced, before the words are well out of his mouth, to 

c c 3 own 


,ow-n that Fohi pretended .to have seen his laws written 
upon the back of a .winged Serpent: and one can hardly 
jthuik that Fohi now gotten into so good a train would 
$lup there. Secondly, By this, however, the historian 
gains (and he bids us observe it) a very early date for 
wr.tting amongst rthe; Chi i>ese, whereas in truth they have 
iDO writing in the sense ;the historian gives to the word, 
even at this day : .and as for Hieroglyphic Characters, all 
nations had them from the most early times, and as soon 
as men began -to associate. Thirdly, We barbarians of 
yesterday must not pretend, he says, .to contradict the 
records of this ancient nation. And why not, I pray, 
when superior Science has enabled this upstart people of 
-the West to detect the falsehood of the Records of 
Egypt, a nation .which pretended to as high antiquity as 
-the Chinese? This the) have done, and, I suppose, to 
the good liking of our historian, if ever he has heard of 
the names of Scaliger and Petavius, of Usher and 
Marsha m. 

P, I 32. [ Y] . AAAa y&p a /X<JK?I/ 

.TO (ru/xoAixov ttf EyAwcvfcj/ $(Z<T yw xoc 
2)KT0nN Pouritiet, &c. Clem. Alex. Strom. 1 v. p. 567. 
Thus this learned Father ; who being in the general pre 
judice that hieroglyphics were a late art, invented by 
philosophic -men, to secrete their knowle ->ge, ex; resses 
himself accordingly, ?tro* f*^fo^/*K tapt%Qns-&v : and yet, 
me thinks, the story he tells of the ^cytbiun king might 
4mve directed hirii to ant;ther oriuinal. Eu-t.ithius says 

the .Same thing: OteTs yi &&&&& OTTO IM n xal ol AkyvTrlwv 

.ft tp&lHV & 

. arco xa arot xa.a ^a . TWV 
, jjQjAot fTifwAa T*I/& xat aro 
a iyfyatppfag. -In iiiad. VI. ver. 168. 

P. 1 33. [Z] In judging only from the nature of things, 
-and .without the surer light ot Kevelation, one should be 
apt to embrace the opinion of Diociorus Siculus [lib. ii.] 
-and Vitruvius [lib. ii. cap. i.J tiiat the tirst Men lived, 
/or some time, in woods and caves, atter the manner of 
fceasts, -uttering only confused and indistinct noises ; till 



associating for mutual assistance, they came, by de 
grees, to use articulate sounds, mutually agreed upon, 
for the arbitrary signs or marks of those ideas in the 
mind of the speaker, which he wanted to communicate 
to the hearer. Hence the diversity of languages ; for it 
is confessed on all hands, that speech is not innate. 
This is so natural an account of the original of language, 
and so unquestioned by Antiquity, that Gregory Nyssen 
[advcr. Emwinhem> lib. xii.] a father of the church, and 
.Richard Simon [Hist. Cnt. du Vkux Test. lib. i. cap. 
14 & 15. lib. iii. cap. 21.] a priest of the Oratory, have 
both endeavoured to support this hypothesis: and yet, 
methinks, they should have known better ; Scripture 
plainly informing us, that language had a different ori 
ginal. This was just the case of SACRIFICES. It is 
very easy to conceive, that one sort arose naturally 
from the sense of gratitude to our Divine Benefactor, 
and the other from a sense of our demerit towards him 
(as will be shewn hereafter) : yet it is certain they we re 
of divine appointment. In this indeed the two cases 
differ; language, I believe, had, for its sole original, 
divine instruction ; whereas sacrifices amongst many 
people were certainly of human invention, and unde-- 
rived from -tradition. But to return to the subject of 
.language. It is strange, as I say, that these learned 
men should not have been better informed. We see, 
by Scripture, that God instructed the first man, in re 
ligion. And can tc-e believe, he would not at the same 
time teach him language, so necessary to support the in 
tercourse between man and his Maker? For Quietism 
is a thing of modern growth ; this, with Mysticism of all 
kinds, is the issue of that wantonness \\hkh makes fa 
voured man grow lired of his two great blessings, REA- 
SON- and LANGUAGE.-- If it be sard, Man -might gain 
language by the use of reason, 1 refily, so might he 
gain religion likewise : and that much easier and sooner. 
Again, when God created man, he made woman for his 
-companion and associate; but the only means of en 
joying this benefit is the use of speech. Call we think 
that God would leave them to themselves, to get out of 
the forlorn condition of brutality as they could? But 
there is more -than a probable support for this opinion. 

c c 4 If 


Jf I am not much mistaken, we have the express testi 
mony of MOSES, that God did indeed teach men lan 
guage : It is where he tells us, that God brought every 
beast of thejit ld, and every fowl of the air, unto Adam, 
to see what he would call them: and whatsoever .Adam 
called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 
And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of 
the air, and to every beast of the field. Gen. ii. !g, 20. 
Here, by a common figure of speech, instead of directly 
relating the fact, that God taught men language, the 
historian represents it, by shewing God in the act of 
doing it, in a particular mode of information ; and that, 
the most apposite we can conceive, namely, elementary 
instruction, in the giving names to substances ; such as 
those with which Adam was to be most conversant, and 
which therefore had need of being distinguished each by 
its proper name : How familiar an image do these words 
convey of a learner of his rudiments And God 
brought every beast. &c. to Adam, to SEE what he would 
call them. In a word, the prophet s manner of relating 
this important fact, has, in my opinion, an uncommon 
elegance. Hut men of warm imaginations overlooked 
this obvious and natural meaning to ramble after forced 
and mysterious senses, such as this, that Adam gave to 
every creature a name expressive of its nature. From 
which fantastic interpretation, ali the wild visions of 
JJutchinson, and his cabalistic followers, seem to have 
arisen. Nor are the Freethinkers much behind them in 
absurdities. " Some," says Tindal, ".would be almost 
apt to imagine that the author of the book of GENE- 
" sis thought that words had ideas naturally fixed to 
" them, and not by consent ; otherwise, say they, how 
* can we account for his supposing that God brought 
1 all animals before Adam, as soon as he was created, 
1 to give them names; and that whatsoever Adam 
" called every living creature, that was the name there- 
" of?" [Christianity as old as the Creation, 8vo. ed. 
p, 2.^8.] But .though Moses thought no such thing, I 
an tell him of one who did : A very ancient writer, 
and frequently quoted by the men of this tribe to con 
front with Moses, I mean HERODOTUS; who not only 
this, but thought still more absurdly, that Ideas 



had words naturally affixed to them. See the famous 
tale of Psammetichus and his two boys, lib. ii. How 
would these men have rejoiced to catch Moses at the 
same advantage ! To conclude. From what hath been 
said, it appears, that God taught man, language : yet 
we cannot reasonably suppose it to be any other than 
what served his present use : after this, he was able of 
himself to improve and enlarge it, as his future occasions 
should require : consequently the first language must 
needs be very poor and narrow. 

P. 135. [AA] " How many commands did God give 
41 his Prophets, which, if taken according to the letter, 
" seem unworthy of God, as making them act like mad- 
< men or idiots ? As for instance, the prophet Isaiah 
" walked for three years together naked for a sign; 
" Jeremiah is commanded to carry his girdle as Jar as 
" Euphrates, to make bands and yokes, 8$c. Ezekiel 
" is commanded to draw Jerusalem on a tile, Sec. &c." 
[luidafs Christianity as old as the Creation, p. 229.} 
The prophet Jeremiah (says a learned writer) is ordered 
to bun a girdle, &c. He is also sent about with yokes* 
Ezekiel besieges a fan-tile. He shaves his head and 
heard. No reasonable man can believe these actions 
were really pcrjormed. Sec Dissertation on the History 
and Character of Balaam. 

P. 135. [BB] Quemadmodum autem vidit in visi* 
onibus [Propheta] quod jussus fuerit [Ezech. cap. viii.] 
fodere in pariete, ut intrare et videre posset, quid iritus 
faciant, quod foderit, per foramen ingressus fuerit, et 
viderit id quod vidit ; ita quoque id quod dictum est ad 
euin. Et tu sume tibi laterem, &c. [Ezech. cap. iv.] 
quod item alibi ei dictum legitur, Novaculam hanc ton- 
soriam cape tibi, [Ezech. cap. v.] ita, inquam, ista omnia 
in visione prophetiae facta sunt, ac vidit^ vel visum fuit 
ipsi, se ista opera facere, quae ipsi praecipiebantur. 
Absit enim ut Deus prophetas suos stultis vel ebriis 
similes reddat, eosque stultorum aut furiosorum actiones 
facere jubeat. More Nev. p. ii. cap. 46. But here the au 
thor s reasoning is defective, because what Ezekiel saw 
in the chambers of imagery in his eighth chapter was in 



vision, therefore his delineation of the plan of the siege, 
and the shaving his beard, in the fourth and fifth chap 
ters, were likewise in vision. But to make this illation 
logical, it is necessary that the circumstance in the 
eighth, and the circumstances in the fourth and fifth, be 
shewn to be specifically the same; but examine them, 
and we shall find them very different : that in the eighth 
was to shew the Prophet the excessive idolatry of Jeru 
salem, by a sight of the very idolatry itself; those in the 
fourth and fifth, were to convey the will of God, by the 
Prophet to the people, in a symbolic action. Now in 
the first case, as we have shewn above, the information 
was properly by vision, and fully answered the purpose, 
namely, the Prophet s information ; but, in the latter, 
a vision had been improper ; for a vision to the prophet 
was of itself no information to the people. 

P. 137. [CCJ The general moral, which is of great 
importance, and is inculcated with all imaginable force, 
is, that weak and worthless men are ever most forward 
to thrust themselves into power; while the wise and good 
decline rule, and prize their native ease and freedom 
-above all the equipage and trappings of grandeur. The 
vanity of base men in power is taught in the fifteenth 
verse, and the ridicule of that vanity is inimitably marked 
out in those circumstances ; where the bramble is made 
to bid his new subjects, who wanted no shadow, to come 
and put their trust in his, who had none; and that in 
case of disobedience, he would send out from himself a 
Jire that should devour the cedars of Lebanon, whenas 
the fire oj brambles, and such like trash, was short and 
momentary even to a proverb, amongst the Easterns. 
TIN DAL, speaking of the necessity of the application of 
reason to scripture, in order to a right understanding of 
those passages in the Old Testament, where God 
speaks, or is spoken o-f, after the manner of men, as 
be mg jealous, angry, repent crnt, reposing, fyc. (Modes 
of expression very apposite, where the subject is God s 
moral governii*ent of the world ; very necessary, where 
it is his civil government of a particular people.) Tin- 
dal, I say, brings this in, amongst his instances- 
IVine, that checreth God and man; as" if Jotharh had 



meant ;God, the governor of the universe; when all, 
who can -read antiquity, must see his meaning to be, 
that wine cheereth hero^gods and common men. For 
Jotham is here speaking to an idolatrous city, which 
ran a whoring after Baalim, and made Baalberith their 
god-, a god sprung from amongst men, as may be partly 
collected from his name, as well as from divers other 
circumstances of the story. But our critic, who could 
not see the sense, it is certain, saw nothing of the beauty 
of the expression; which contains one of the finest 
strokes of ridicule in the whole apologue, so much 
abounding with them ; and insinuates to the Sheche- 
mites the vanity and pitiful original of their idolatrous 
gods, who were thought to be, or really had been, re 
freshed with wine. Hesiod tells us, in a similar ex 
pression, that the vengeance of the fates pursued the 
crimes of gods and men : 

Air ANAPI1N T 0E.QN rt -srapxtSau 
Ov^iTTols A^yacn -S^oii fewo io p^oAoto, 
n^tv y* OLTTO TW owcocrt xa>c>ii/ Q-JTW Off? 

EOF. ver. 220. 

P. 137. [DD] Judges ix. 7- COLLINS, the author of 
the Scheme of literal Prophecy considered, speaking of 
Dean Sherlock s interpretation of Gen. iii. 15. says 
" What the Dean just now said is nothing but an argu- 
ment from the pretended absurdity, of the literal sense, 
" that supposes the most plain matter of fact to be 
"fable, or parable, or allegory, though it be suited to 
" the notions of the Ancients, who thought that beasts 
had, in the first ages of the world, the use of speech, 
6 agreeable to what is related in the Bible of Balaam s 
" ass, and told after a simple historical manner, like all 
" the relations in the Old Testament, wherein there is 
nothing savours of allegory, and every thing is plainly 
and simply exposed" p. 234. By this it appears that 
Mr. Collins thought that fable, parable, and allegory, 
were the same mode of speech, whereas they are very 
different modes. A fable was a story familiarly told, 
without any pretended foundation of fact, uith design to 
persuade the hearers of soune truth in question ; a pa 
rable was the same kind of story, more obscurely de 
livered ; 


livered ; an allegory was the relation of a real fact, 
delivered in symbolic terms : Of this kind was the story 
of the FALL: a real fact, told ailegorically. According 
to Mr. Collins, it is a fable to be understood literally, 
because it was suited to the notions of the ancients, who 
thought that beasts had, in the Jirst ages of the world, 
the use of speech. By the Ancients he must mean, if he 
means any thing to the purpose, those of the Mosaic 
age: and this will be news. His authority is, in truth, 
an authentic one ! It is Balaam s ass. Agreeable, says 
he, to what is related in the Bible of Balaam s ass, and 
told after a simple historical manner. Now the Bible, 
to which he so confidently appeals, expressly tells us, 
that Balaam had the gilt of prophecy; that an angel in 
tervened; and that God Almighty opened the ass s 
mouth. But however he is pleased to conceal the mat 
ter, he had a much better proof that the Ancients 
thought beasts had the use of speech in the first ages of 
the world than Balaam s ass; and that was ESOP S 
FABLES. And this might have led him rather to the 
story of Jotham, so plainly and simply exposed, that, 
had not only the serpent, but the tree of knowledge 
likewise spoken, he could have given a good account of 
the matter, by Jotham s fable; told after a simple his 
torical manner, like all the relations in the Old Testa 
ment. A great improvement, believe me, this, to his 
discovery, that the ancients thought not only that 
beasts, but that trees spoke in the first ages of the 
world. The Ancients! an* please you. It is true, they 
delighted in fabulous traditions. But what then? they 
had always the sense to give a sufficient cause to every 
effect. They never represented things out of nature, 
but when placed there by some God, who had nature 
in his power. Even Homer, the father of fables, when 
he makes the horses of Achilles speak, or feel human 
passions, thinks it not enough to represent them as sti 
mulated by a God, without informing us, that they 
themselves were of a coelestial and immortal race. 

P. 140. [EE] This account shews how ridiculously 
the critics were employed in seeking out the inventor of 
the Apologue ; they might as well have sought for the 



inventor of the Metaphor, and carried their researches 
still further, and with Sancho Pancha inquired after the 
inventor of eating and drinking. 

P. 142. [FF] - Kt EV AlyUTrJw [AiV TO*V ItpWfft (TUPTJV, xj 

TW <roCiot,v ifcipOLvt, KJ TWV AiyuTr/icov pcoj/jv. F/sa^uarcov 
Si T/ucWff &pof f, EniSTOAOFPA^IKIlN rt, xai IEPO- 
TAT^IKHN, xai ZTMBOAIKI2N* TWI> ^v xoij/oAoy^eW 
xaja ftipwm TWV JE aXAujrcptyiftw* xoja nva? cuttJJEABf. 
De Vita Pythagorae, cap. xi. & xii. pag. 15. Ed. 
Kusteri. Holstenius translates TWV ^y xoiyoAoya^fvojp 
xoja /Ajw>i(riv, TWV ^ aAAnyopajWEVwv xoja Tii/af aivjjjuaj, in 

this manner : " Quorum illud proprlam fy commumm 
" loquendi consuetudinem imitatur ; reliqua per allegorias 
4< sub quibusdain a3nigmatum involucris sensum expri- 
" munt." By which, it seems, he understood TWK plv 
xoivoAoya/xfvwv xoja ^/ja(ni/ to be an explanation of the 
nature of epistolary writing ; and TWV fl a AA < yap/Avwv 
xola rtva? aciifJf^ of the nature both of hieroglyphic 
and symbolic ; whereas the first words are an explanation 
of hieroglyphic writing, and the second only of symbolic. 
For Porphyry having named three kinds of writing, the 
first common to all people ; the two other peculiar, at 
that time, to the Egyptians ; when he comes to speak of 
their natures, he judiciously omits explaining the episto 
lary, which all the world knew, and confines his dis 
course to the hieroglyphic and symbolic. But was it, 
as Holstenius thought, that he explained the nature of 
the epistolary in the words TWK p\v xowAofe/AjW, &c. then 
has he entirely omitted the proper hieroglyphic (for the 
TWV $\ a AAnycp^ucW, &c. relates only to the symbolic) ; 
which had been an unpardonable fault. But that this is 
Holstenius s mistake is further seen by the next passage 
from Clemens Alexandrinus : for what Porphyry calls 
hieroglijphical and symbolical, Clemens calls hierogly- 
phlcal\ using hieroglyphical as a generic term, which 
Porphyry used as a specific. Clemens, I say, giving 
an account of the nature of hieroglyphic writing, tells 
us it was of two sorts ; the one, KYPIOAOFEITAI KATA 
MIMHSIN, directly andswply imitates the thing intended 
to be represented , by this he meant the proper hierogly 



phic (which Porphyry, in his enumeration of the kinds, 
distinguishes from the syn&olxfy ; and what is more, 
Porphyry seems to have borrowed his expression of TW 
pti/ xoivoAo)/8j(Aj/ajv x7a /AJ/AJKT^, from Clemens s xu^oAo- 
yt~T<xt Hula jou //,*j<7ii/, by which this latter evidently means 
to.- ex press the nature of the proper hieroglyphic. Besides; 
Clemens, -who gives the nature of epistolary writing, with 
the same judgment thut Porphyry omit :ed giving it, de 
scribes it in a very different, maniier, and with great pro 
priety, thus, K y (*& Iri (FiflTTw* Wjpwrwv S TOIXEIIIN 
KYPIOAOriKH. \ et- a learned writer^ supported by 
the authority of Holstenius, uhieh served his purpose in 
an argument for the low antiquity of Egypt, would per 
suade us that Porphyry did not mean by the expression 
*dAoyx/xj/a xoW pfawiv, that the characters he spoke 
of imitated the joints or jigurts of the things intended 
by them ; FOR that was not the pipw^ which the cmcient 
writers ascribed to .LETTERS, [Sacr. and Prof. Hist, of 
the. World connect. voL ii. p. 2y6.] This argument is. 
a Petitio Principii , which supposes Porphyry to be- 
here describing epistolary writing. On this supposition 
the writer says, that the imitation oj thejorms orjigures 
of things is not the ^na-i; the ancient writers ascribed to 
letters. Certainly it is not. But Porphyry is not 
speaking of the letters, but of hieroglyphic figures : 
therefore p /*j<n? does here, and may any where, mean 
(because it is the literal sense of the word) imitation of 
the figure of things. However, let us consider his. cri 
ticism on this word, though it makes so little to his pur 
pose: Socrates in Plato savs. it seems,, o ^t. rut 
cvXXoi^vre *$ ypot,u[ji,a,TM rw xvi&v rwv -GrgufyMruv AI1O- 
MIMOTMENO2- and the ancients, the learned writer tells 
us, were exceeding philosophical. in their accounts of both 
words and letters : when 1 a word or sound was thought 
fully to express, according to their notions, the thing 
which it was designed to be the name o/j then they called 
it- the clxcov, or picture of that thing* The ancients 
were, without doubt, wonderfully profound ; if we will 
believe Kircher and his school : but if a plain man may 
be heard, all the mystery of ju,//*<n and t\Mv u as simply \ 
this : Alphabetic letters, as we h^ve observed, sprung* 



from hieroglyphic characters; and even received their 
form from thence. Now the ancients, as was very na 
tural, when they spoke of the power of letters, and of 
words composed of letters, frequently transferred the 
terms ^/punc and clxe0 9 .to these, which properly belonged 
to hieroglyphic characters : a plain proof of this is the 
very word afrd^i^fopal, quoted by the learned writer from 
Plato; which literally signifies, to imitate from an ex 
emplar, but* figuratively, to express, at large : So za-AaV^a 
originally, signified any thing formed and fashioned by 
art; traduetively, a similitude in speech, nay, the mu 
sical modulation of the voice. There is a remarkable 
passage in Plutarch s discourse of the Pythian prophetess 
no longer- rendering her prophecies inverse , where the 
word. wAaV^* generally thought to be used in the first 
of these traductive senses, but I think it must be under 
stood in the second; speaking of the ancient manner of 
delivering the oracles, he says^ x MM, v$\ xfav, 
oAA* iv f*tr gw.fy. ofay KOI,} IIAA2MATI xat pel sup/op 0,7$ wopocrwv, 
XJM pir wte< M..Le Glerc, [De Prophetia, pag. 18. 
torn, iv. Comm. in: V. TL] translates the latter part 
thus, pedibus vincta* tumida, qu&sitis- & -tralatitiis 
verbis constantia, & cum tibia pronunciata.- But 
wAaV^aJt signifies here, not quaesitis verbis, but that 
modulation i of the voice which we may call placida 
canjbrmatio, and is opposed to ofxw, a contrary modu 
lation of the voice, which may be called gravis confpr- 
matio. These two were used in the theatre (to which the* 
matter is compared) in a kind of recitative on the flute : 
soothat what Plutarch would say, is this, that the ancient 
oracles were not only delivered in verse, and 1 in a pom 
pous figurative style, but, were sung likewise- to the 
ftate* To o7x and wA^V/x^]i he opposed avAvIoj/, in the 
of iiwtunable ; and to ptlap op7f ovo^oir^v he.-opposed* 
^, plain, simple. Pktarch uses- -srAaV/xa agaiiT in th^ 
sease of confo^matio, where speaking of the* elocution- of 
Pericles, he calls it IIAASMA <pms ottfyvGov, a composed 
modulation of voice. But Quintiiian employs it in the v 
very sense in question, to express a soft and delicqte 
modulation of voice* Sit autetn imprimis lectio virilis 
suavifcate -quadam gravis, & non quidem prosft^ 
quia carmen est, < poeta3 canere-test?lrrrLTrr 



Non tamen in cauticum dissoluta, nee PLASMATE (ut 
nuoc a plerisque fit) effoeminata, 1. i. c. 14. Hence 
again, in another trad action, plasma was used to signify 
a certain medicine, that speakers in public took to 
render their voice soft and harmonious : 

Sede leges celsa, llquido cumplasmate guttur 
Mobile conlueris Pers. Sat. i. ver. 17. 

Turnebus, not attending to this progressive change in 
the sense of words, and taking his signification of plasma 
from the passage of Quintilian, supposed that plasma, 
in this place of the poet, signifies not a medicament, but 
a soft and delicate modulation of the voice. Est cum 
molli & tenera fictaque vocula poema eliquaverit udo 
gutture. Est enirn plasma, ut alio loco docui, cum vox 
est tenera & mollis. On the other hand, Lubin, who 
had taken his signification of plasma from this place, 
will needs have the same word in the passage quoted 
above from Quintilian to signify not a soft and delicate 
modulation of the voice, but a medicament. Turnebi 
hujus loci explicatio, 1. xxviii. c. 26. Adversar. mini 
non placet, & hoc Quintiliani loco refutatur. Comment. 
in Pers. 

P. 142. [CrG] xar* ot>ctoTfIa [*3oiMts xat pil 
That is, as I understand it, represented one thing by 
another, which other hath qualities bearing relation or 
analogy to. the thing represented. 

P. 142. [HH] wotypqiqwi hot ruv chityXvfv*. The 
Latin translator keeps close to his original, anaglyphies 
dcscribunt; and Stanley, [Lives of Phil. p. 350. ed. 3d.] 
they write by anaglyphies : as if this was a new species 
of writing, now first mentioned by Clemens, and to be 
added to the other three : whereas, I suppose, it was 
Clemens s intention only to tell us that tropical symbols 
were chiefly to be met with on their stone monuinents > 
engraven in relief: which was true. 

P. 14-2. [II] AuriW 01 -crap* AlyuTrJtotj Ts-oudtvoptvoi 

it, rw IEPA- 


TIKHN, 17 ppcovTau ol ifficygaftfA&lsTs vratnw 1 xal T 
TJ}I/ lEPOFAT^IKHN, fa y piv Ir* hoc, TWV zjpwrwv 

riv<x,$ amiaf. HAtoi/ 

KOU t*ia^fif ra ^ f 


TH Xaa TJif QmHyfAKf, TpiTB 



. Strom, lib. v. p. 555, 556. Ed Moreli. 

In ^ta TWI/ -srpwrwv foi%iit0if xupieAoyixjf. ij Je, (ru^^oAix^, 

the Latin translator turns thus, Cw/ ws wwa quidem est per 
prima elementa xuptoAoyixn\ zW e9^, proprie loquens ; altera 
vero symbolica, id est, per signa significans. This is so 
faithfully translated, that it preserves the very ambiguity 
of the original, and leaves us still to guess at the author s 
division. Marsham takes it just wrong ; and so does his 
nephew Stanley ; the first of these learned men quotes 
and translates the passage thus : Triplex erat apud 
JEgyptios characterum ratio, ETnroAofpapix^ # 
bendas epistolas apta, she vulgaris ; f lf pol*x7i, yz/ 
jfwr towetpfMfk?f t qui cle rebus sacris scribunt, 
, sacra sculptura*, HVJU&dutzsunt specie^ 
proprie loquens per prima elementa, 
per signa [Can. Chron. p 38. Franeq. Ed.] The second 
thus, <f/ze te^ and most perfect^ hieroglyphical ; WHEREOF 
ewe w curiologic, //.e o^/zer symbolic. [Lives of Phil. 
p. 329. 3d ed.] By this interpretation, the learned 
Father is, i . made to enumerate three kinds of writing, 
but to explain only the last, namely, hieroglyphics ; 
2. which is worse, he is made to say one kind of hierogly 
phics was by letters of an alphabet ; for that is the 
meaning of Ji& TWJ/ TZT^WTWJ/ roi^ctW: 3. which is still worse, 
he is made to divide hieroglyphics into two sorts, curio- 
logic and symbolic \ and symbolic into three sorts, curio- 
logic, tropical and allegorical-, which makes the prior divi 
sion into curiologic and symbolic, inaccurate and absurd; 
VOL. IV. D D and 


and spreads a general confusion over the whole passage. 
Their mistake seems to have arisen from supposing jws6o7 
ic/><yAv$ucij? (the immediate antecedent] was understood 
at ?K v pw In ; whereas it was the more remote ante- 
cedent, peQ6$z Atyuirjfw* ygoLppdruv ; and what made 
them suppose this, was, I presume, the author s ex 
pressing the common plain way of writing by letters of 
an alphabet, and the common plain way of imitating by 
figures (two very different things) by the game words, 
xupioAoytx>! and xvpioXoytirui ; not considering that J v TWJ 
Txrpwrwv roij0v, joined to the adjective, signified writing 
by letters ; and, xara m/piow, joined to the verb, sig 
nified writing by figures. In a word then, the plain 
and easy meaning of Clemens is this, " The Egyptian 
(( method of writing was epistolic, sacerdotal, and hiero- 
<c glyphical ; of this method, the epistolic and sacerdotal 
" were by letters of an alphabet; the hieroglyphical, by 
" symbols : symbols were of three kinds, curiologic, 
" tropical, and allegorical." 

P. 143. [KK] This was indeed a very logical conclu 
sion from the opinion that hieroglyphics were invented to 
hide mysteries ; but the high improbability of the fact 
should have led them, one would think, to the falsehood 
of the premisses. That the Egyptians had letters before 
they had hieroglyphics ^ seems to me as extravagant as 
that they danced before they could walk ; and, I believe, 
will seem so to all who consider the first part of this dis 
sertation. However, a modern writer has taken up that 
opinion : and tells us in plain terms, that the hieroglyphi 
cal way of writing was not the most ancient wayoj writ 
ing in Egypt ; [Connect, of the Sacr. and Prof. Hist. 
vol. i. p. 230. -and again to the same purpose, vol. ii. 
293, 294,] partly, I presume, as it favoured the hypo 
thesis of the low antiquity of Egypt ; and partly, per 
haps, in compliment to that consequential notion, that 
not only all arts and sciences came firm the Hebrews, 
but all the vehicles of knowledge likewise; whence, par 
ticularly, the author of the Court of the Gentiles derives 
hieroglyphics. The greatest pieces of the Jewish wisdom, 
says Mr. Gale, were couched under the cover of symbols 
and types ; whence the Egyptians and other nations bor 
rowed their hieroglyphic and symbolic wisdom. [Part i. 

P- 77-] 


p. 77.] But on what ground does the author of the 
Connection build, in support of his opinion ? On this, that 
letters are very ancient ; in which, without doubt, he is 
right : but surely not so ancient as he would have them. 
However, the Argument he uses is certainly a very per 
verse one : There is one consideration more, says lie, which 
makes it very probable that the use of LETTERS came 
from N.oah, and out of the first world, and that is the 
account which the Chinese give of their LETTERS. They 
assert their first emperor, whom they name Fohy, to he 
the inventor of them \ before Fohy they have no records, 
and their Fohy and Noah were the same person, [vol. i! 
p. 236.] Now it unluckily happens that the Chinese are 
without LETTERS, even to this day. Nor are we, for all 
this, to think our author ignorant of the nature of the 
Chinese characters ; for he- tells us soon after, that the 
Chinese have no notion of alphabetical letters, but make 
use of characters to express their meaning. Their cha 
racters are not designed to express words, for they are 
used by several neighbouring nations who differ in lan 
guage, [p. 244.] Thus the learned writer, before he was 
aware, in endeavouring to prove letters of higher anti 
quity than hieroglyphics, hath proved just the contrary; 
even that hieroglyphic characters, not letters, were the 
writing so early as his Noah : For the Chinese characters 
are properly hieroglyphics, that is, marks for things, not 
words; and hieroglyphics they are called by all the mis 
sionaries from whom we have the most authentic accounts 
of China. But had their characters been indeed letters, 
as our author, in this place, by mistake supposed them, 
yet still his argument would have had no weight; and I 
will beg leave to tell him why: The Chinese characters 
in use at present are very modern in comparison of the 
monarchy. The missionaries tell us (as may be seen by 
the quotations given above) that the Chinese character 
hath undergone several changes ; that their first way of 
writing was, like the Mexican, by picture ; that they then 
abbreviated it in the manner of the most ancient Egyptian 
hieroglyphics ; and at length brought it, by many gradual 
improvements, to its present contracted form : yet a real 
character or hieroglyphic the Chinese writing still is ; 
and so is likely to continue. 

*> D 2 P, 145. 


P. 145. [LL] A late curious Voyager, who had exa 
mined the larger PYRAMIDS with great exactness, and 
found no hieroglyphics inscribed upon them, either with 
out or within, concludes, rather too hastily, that they were 
built before the use of hieroglyphic writing in Egypt ; and 
from thence insinuates another conclusion, in favour of 
the absurd hypothesis here confuted, that hieroglyphics 
were not the first species of writing known in Egypt ; 
and, consequently, did not come from picture-writing, 
but from alphabetic marks ; a foolish error, which be 
trays great ignorance in the natural progress of human 
knowledge. " Si je suppose (says Captain Norden) que 
" les Pyramides, mme les dernieres, ont eteelevees avant 
te que Von eut T usage des hieroglyphes, je ne 1 avance 
sans fondement. Qui pourroit se persuader, que les 
" Egyptiens eussent laisse ces superbes monumens, sans 
" la moindre inscription hieroglyphique, eux, qui, comme 
<c on 1 observe de toutes parts, prodigueoient les hiero- 
t( o-lyphes sur tons les edifices de quelque consideration ? 
" Or on n en appercoit aucun, ni au dedans, ni au de- 
" hors, des pyramides, pas meme sur les ruines des 
" temples de la seconde et de la troisieme pyramide : 
" n est ce pas une preuve que Forigine des pyramides 
" precede celle des hieroglyphes, que Ton regarde nean- 
" moins comme les premiers caracteres dont on ait use 
" en Egypte." Voyage d Egypte, Bine partie, p. 75. 

The curious voyager not only satisfies himself in ac 
counting for the want of hieroglyphic characters on the 
Pyramids, by their being built before the invention of 
such characters, but seems to value himself upon a dis 
covery resulting from it, that Hieroglyphics were not the 
first I ort of writing in Egypt. But there is a greater 
difficulty in this matter than he was aware of. 

It ht th been proved at large, that marks for things, 
by a kind of picture-writing, were the first rude effort of 
every people upon earth, to convey and perpetuate their 
intelligence and conceptions to one another, as soon as 
they began to associate into tribes and nations. ..he 
Monuments in question are a proof that the erectors of 
them had advanced in the arts of civil life. No one then, 
who understands what Society is, can doubt but that the 
Egyptians had then a method of conveying their thoughts 



at a distance, by visible marks : and no one, acquainted 
with the slow progress of human inventions, can imagine 
that alphabetic writing was the first effort towards this 
conveyance. Hence arises the difficulty. 

But this observation of the curious voyager, which fur* 
nishes the difficulty, supplies the solution. Suppose only 
the Pyramids to be erected in the interval between the 
inventions of curiologic and tropical hieroglyphics, that is, 
between their natural and more artificial state, and the 
difficulty vanishes : For in their natural state, they would 
be only used out of necessity ; and not for ornament, 
luxury, or decoration. So that it is no wonder we do not 
find them on the PYRAMIDS in pompous and flattering 
inscriptions like those on the OBELISKS. 

His observation, Norden indeed gives, as a proof of 
the high antiquity of the pyramids ; and very justly. But 
his drawings furnish us with another argument in support 
of this truth, which he himself seems not to have consi 
dered : It is this, that the general idea of Egyptian archi 
tecture was entirely taken from the PYRAMIDS: which 
nothing sure but the high veneration for them, increased 
by their remote antiquity, could possibly have occasioned ; 
since the figure of these sepulchral monuments, so well 
adapted to triumph over time, is the most inconvenient 
that can possibly be imagined for habitable structures, 
whether public or private ; and exceedingly grotesque, in 
all others. And yet we see, from the ancient ruins of 
Egypt, of which this diligent and exact Traveller has given 
us so fine drawings, that all their buildings, without ex 
ception, were raised on the idea and genius of the Pyra 
mids. We are surprised to find not only their ports, 
their door-steads [See plates CIX. CXVIIL] but even 
the very walls of their temples, [PL CXLVIf . VIII. 
CLI. CLIV.] nay, of their towns, narrowing up 
wards and inclining inwards, in the manner of a modern 
fortification. [PI. XCIX. CXV. CXXXVIII j 
But to return to the solution given above : It may be said, 
perhaps, " Allow the pyramids to have been erected in 
the interval between the invention of curioiogic and tro 
pical hieroglyphics. What hindered the Egyptians from 
scribbling over these bulky monuments with their first 
rude essays, as other barbarous nations have done upon 

D D 3 their 


their rocks? of which we find specimens enough in Scan 
dinavia, North- East Tartary, and ejsewhere. Indeed I 
know of iiothing but CUSTOM that hindered them ; that 
sovereign Mistress of the world, who only is of force to 
control and conquer Nature : And that Custom did ef 
fectually hinder them, is very plain, from our finding no 
specimens of any of their first rude hieroglyphic paintings; 
though, fiv,iii them, their improved hieroglyphics received 
their birth. Nor did they want, any more than other 
Barbarians, their isolated rocks for this purpose : they 
had them very coinmodiously bordering. on the Nile, and 
in view of all passengers. And on these, it is remark 
able, they have inscribed their improved hieroglyphics, 
though we see no remains of any the earlier and ruder 
efforts of picture-writing. 

But the modesty and reserve of this curious Traveller, 
and his deference to learned Antiquity, deserves commen 
dation. He is not of the number of those who expect 
more faith from their Reader than they commonly find, 
or venture to entertain him with discoveries which he did 
not expect. For the learned reader acquiesces in Anti 
quity ; the sensible reader prefers the evidence of a con 
temporary writer to the conjectures of a modern traveller : 
yet such is the general humour of our Voyagers, that they 
think they do nothing, if they do not rectify the errors of 
Antiquity. I have an ingenious measurer of the Pyramids 
in my eye, and one of the latest too [Dr. Shaw], who, in 
the passion lor saying something new, assures us, that the 
opinion of their being SEPULCHRES is an old inveterate 
mistake: that they are indeed no other than TEMPLES, 
for religious worship. To soften so rugged a paradox, he 
says, there was no universal consent amongst the Ancients 
concerning the me or purpose for which these Pyramids 
were designed. And was there any universal consent 
amongst them that snow was white ? But would this save 
the modesty or understanding of him who should affirm, 
after a- certain ancient Philosopher, that it was black? 
And yet such a one would have the advantage of our 
Traveller ; who would be hard put to it to produce any 
Ancient, whether Philosopher or otherwise, who said the 
J^yraoiids were Temples. But if the positive and agreeing 
Jestimpny of all the old writers extajit may be called uni* 



versal consent, it certainly is not wanting. Herodotus, 
Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, Pliny, Tacitus, &c. all assure 
us that the Pyramids were Sepulchres. Nay, Diodorus, 
to put the matter out of doubt, informs us, that the sacred 
commentaries of their Priests said so. But our Traveller 
supposed this universal consent to be shaken at least by 
Pliny, who tells us, they were built for ostentation^ and 
to keep an idle people in employment. As if this intimated 
that, in Pliny s opinion, they were not Sepulchres ! Sup 
pose I should say the great Arch at Blenheim was built 
for ostentation ; and if not to set an idle people to work, 
yet at least to make them stare : Does this contradict the 
universal consent of its being a Bridge, though as much 
too large for the water that runs under it, as the Pyramids 
were for the bodies contained in them ? In a word, Pliny 
is not speaking of the use to which the buildings were 
applied, but of the motives for their erection. 

P. 149. [MM] Against this, a late furious writer ob 
jects " But is it credible that the polite and learned 
" priests of Egypt would use a method to hide and secrete 
" their knowledge, which the more rude and barbarous 
" nations employed to publish and divulge theirs ? Or 
" can you conceive that a curious and studied refine - 
" ment of so knowing and enlightened a people as the 
" Egyptians should be one and the very same thing 
* with a rude and simple invention of those nations 
u which were most barbarous and uncivilized ?" Jack 
son s Chronol. vol. iii. p, 357. 

I answer by another question Is it credible that the 
polite and learned orators and historians of Greece and 
Rome should, out of choice, use a method [FIGURATIVE 
EXPRESSION] to perfect their eloquence, which the first 
rude and barbarous nation employed out of necessity, and 
which rude and barbarous nations still employ, for want of 
intellectual ideas, and more abstract terms ? Or can you 
conceive, that a curious and studied rejimment of dress, 
in so knowing and enlightened a people as the present 
French, should be one and the same thing with the rude, 
and simple invention of leathern garments to cover naked 
ness amongst the Laplanders, a people most barbarous 
and uncivilized? But if it displeases our Chronologist, 
D D 4 that 


that so enlightened and refined a poople as the Egyptians 
should pride themselves in the rude and simple invention 
of barbarians : what will he say to find, that the most 
savage people upon earth go a step beyond the most 
polished in the delicacy and luxury of speech ? Yet this 
is the case of the Greenlanders, or the missionary Egede 
deceives us. The women (says he) have a dialect different 
from the men, making use of the softest letters at the 
ends of words j instead of the hard ones. Hist, of Green 
land, p. 160. 

P. 1 50. [NN] This hieroglyphic likewise signified the 
earth; for the first rude mortals imagined, that that 
which sustained them vras the Deity which gave them 
Being. So Hesiod, who took his notions of the earth 
from the Egyptians, describes her after their paintings ; 
TAI ETPrrTEPNOS, which the figure of the Diana 
multimammia well explains. But Shakspeare, who, as 
Mr. Pope finely observes, had immediately from nature 
what the two Greek poets, Homer and Hesiod, received 
through Egyptian strainers., paints this famous hiero 
glyphic with much more life and spirit : 

...... -" Common Mother thou ! 

" Whose womb unmeasurable and INFINITE BREAST 

" Teems and feeds all." 

That Hesiod had there the Egyptian Goddess in his 
mind, is plain from the character he gives of her in the 

words subjoined, 

>/ ^ / f t . . \ * \ 

0^ <x,<r<paXi<; CCIEI 

for the earth was the first habitation of those Gods 
which Greece borrowed of the Egyptians : from whence, 
as the poet insinuates, they were transferred into heaven: 

roi -wgurov ply lysivoflo Ivw Jaurw 
ots-EpoevV, *ivu piv trip] Tffaiftet xaAvTrJo;, 
[A(x,Kixpt(r<ri S ZQ IS t$@p aVpaAtj otiu. 

P. 152. [GO] A very curious specimen of Ihis hasty 
delineation of the outlines of the figures (which gave 
birth to the running hand character we are here speaking 
of) the reader will find in Kircher p. 350. of his (Edip. 



JEgypt. torn. iii. where he has given the characters on 
the Florentine obelisk, which, though dignified by that 
name, is only a late mimic in miniature of the superb 
monuments so in titled. See Plate VIII. 

P. 152. fPP] The account which a missionary Jesuit 
gives us of the several sorts of writing amongst the 
Chinese will illustrate this matter: Par-mi ces ca- 
racteres il y en a ck plusieurs sortes. Les premiers ne 
sont presque plus d usage, fy on ne les conserve quc pour 
faire honmur d Vaniiquite. Les seconds beaucoup molns 
anciens nont place que dans les inscriptions publiques : 
quand on en a besom, on consult e les livres, fy d la fa- 
veur des dictionnaires il est facile de les dechiffrer. 
Les troisiemcs, beaucoup plus reguliers plus beaux, 
servent dans Vimpression et mhne dans I ecriture ordi 
naire. Neanmoins comme les traits en sont bien formes, 
il faut un temps considerable pour les ecrire ; c est pour 
cela qu on a trouve une quatrieme espece d ecriture, 
dont les traits plus liez & rnoins distinguez les uns des 
autres, donnent la faciiite d ecrire plus viste ces trois 
derniers caracteres ont entre mx beaucoup de, ressem- 
blance, et respondent assez d nos lettres capitalcs, aux 
let ires d impression, et d Vecrlture ordinaire. Nou- 
veaiijc Memoir es sur Vet at present de la Chine, par le 
P. L. Le Comte, torn. i. Amst. 1698, pp. 258, 259. 
And here let me just take notice of a ridiculous mistake 
into which the equivocation of the word Notce (a term 
signifying as well short -hand characters, as hierogtyphi- 
cal) drew a certain learned grammarian : who in a letter 
to his friend [Gloss. Ant. Rom. p. 414. ed 1731] under 
taking to give the original of short-hand characters, re 
jects the account of the ancients (which makes them a 
Roman invention) to fetch them from the Barbarians ; 
and will have them to be indeed the same as the fgno- 
rablles Liter & of the Egyptians (mentioned by Apuleius) 
and the present Chinese characters ; that is, real hiero 
glyphics. But had he considered, that the notes of 
short-hand were marks for words, and the notes of hie 
roglyphics marks for things, he would have seen that 
they had no manner of relation to one another, but were 
of different original, and employed to different ends; 



He thinks, however, he has found a support for his 
notion in St. Jerom; who, he says, tells us somewhere 
or other, that they came from the Barbarians : Rest ant 
adhuc NOTJE, qua cum ex Barbarorum puto ortu nat& 
sint, rationem amisere. But without searching for the 
place, and recurring to the context, we may safely pro 
nounce, that St. Jerom meant here by NOT.*;, not the 
notes of short-hand, but hieroglyphic notes ; by his say 
ing of them rationem amisere ; which was not true of 

short-hand notes> but very true of hieroglypkicaL 


P. 154. [QQ] To this, perhaps, it may be objected 
that literary writing had the name of epistolary, rather 
for its being afterwards employed in such kind of com 
positions ; because Clemens Aiexandrinus says, That 
Atossa the Persian empress was the Jirst that wrote 
epistles ; and Tatian, where he gives a list of some In 
ventors, expresses himself, from Hellanicus the historian, 
in this manner, EmroAa? 2TNTA2SEIN ifavpuv >i Ils/xrwi/ 
srdlf riyriarxptwi yu*J, xaOaVf/) <pn<riv EAAai/ix- , Aroa-coc, $1 
ovopoe, avrij Jv. But to this it may be replied, that the 
supposition of literary writing s having the name si epis 
tolary from any later application of alphabetic letters to 
this sort of composition, is very precarious : for it may 
be asked, why rather a name from epistles than from 
any nobler sort of composition, in which we must needs 
conclude letters had been employed, before the use of 
epistles, if epistles were so lately invented? But the 
truth is, if by o-uflaWnv, which word Clemens likewise 
uses, we are to understand the composing, and not the 
artificial closing and sealing up of the tablets in which 
the Ancients wrote their epistles (the more natural sense 
of the word, and an invention more to the genius of a 
court lady) we must needs say the whole story of Atos- 
sa s invention is a very idle one, and worth only the 
attention of such triflers as the writers Of the invention 
of things; from whence Tatian and Clemens had it: 
they might as well have enquired after the inventors of 
speech : writing epistles being as early as the occasions 
of communicating the thoughts at a distance ; that is, as 
early as human commerce. We find in the //. . 
ver. 1 69, Beilerophon carrying an epistle from Praetus 



to lobates. " No, says a great Critic, [see p. ^39. 
" of the Dissertation upon Phalaris] tiiis was no epistle, 
" as Pliny rightly remarks, but codicilli ; and Homer 
" himself calls it srW TrJuxJ&f ." I do not comprehend 
the force of the learned person s argument: the point 
between him and his noble adversary was concerning the 
thing, not the name ; but Pliny s observation, and his 
own, is concerning the wame, not the thing. Let what 
Belleropkori carried be sr/vag wjuxlo?, small leaves of 
ivcvd covered with wax. and written upon by a pen of 
metal, yet was it essentially an epistle, if Cicero s defi 
nition of an epistle be a true one : Hoc est, says he, 
Epistola proprium, ut is ad quern scribitur, de us rebus 
quas ignorant, certiorjiat. Why Pliny said, this Wi/a 
G/lvxIos was not an epistle, but a codicil, was because 
small leaves of wood covered with wax, when written 
on, were called by his countrymen codicilli; and a mis 
sive-paper, epistola: that this was his meaning appears 
from the account he gives of the pretended paper epistle 
of Sarpedon mentioned as a great rarity by Licinius 
Mucianus. [See the Dissert, mentioned above.] 

P. 155. [RR] By sonos vocis Cicero means words: 
It was impossible he could ever conceive that brute and 
inarticulate sounds were almost infinite. See what is 
said on this matter below. 

Long before this addition was made to the discourse 
on Hieroglyphic writing, one of the ablest Philosophers 
of this age, M. 1 Abbe de Condillac, in his EsSai sur 
1 origine des connoissances humaines, had the candour 
to say, that I had perfectly well discovered the progress 
by which men arrived to the invention of letters. Cette 
section [De L ecriture], says he, etoit presque achevee, 
quand 1 Essai sur les Hieroglyphes traduit de 1 Anglois 
de M. Warburton rne tomba entre les mains : Ouvrage 
ou 1 esprit philosophique et Terudition regnent egalement, 
&c. mes propres reflexions m avoient aussi conduit a 
remarquer que Tecriture n avoit d abord ete qu une sim 
ple peinture : mais je n avois point encore tente de de- 
couvrir par quels progres on 6toit arrive a 1 invention des 
lettres, et il me paroissoit difficile d y reussir. La chose 
a ete parfaitement executee par M. Warburton, p. 178. 



sec. partie. My own countrymen have been less can 
did : and to them the above addition is owing. 

P. 159- [SS] To Tzrsp} rcav Iv Bat/ Itpuv 

roll/ tv Mspov] Ispwv ypo<,[Ap,o(.Toov. In Vit. Democr. 
Segm. xiix. lib. 9. I3ut Ileinesius and Menage, not ap 
prehending there was any sacred mysterious writing out 
of Egypt and its confines, will have the Babylon here 
mentioned to be Babylon in Egypt ; but they should 
have reflected how unlikely it was, if Democritus had 
chosen to write of the sacred letters of the Egyptians, 
that he should denominate his discourse from a place not 
at all celebrated for their use, when there were so many 
other that these characters had rendered famous. 

P. 162. [TTJ I have the pleasure to find, that so 
sensible a writer as the celebrated Mr. Astruc, in his 
Conjectures sur la Genese, has espoused this opinion, 
that alphabetic writing was in use amongst the Egyptians 
before the time of Moses : He has likewise adopted the 
arguments here employed in support of it, as well as this 
whole theory of hieroglyphic writing. 

P. 163. [UU] Exod. xxviii. 21. And the stones 
shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, 
according to their names ; LIKE THE ENGRAVINGS OF 
A SIGNET, every one with his name shall they be, ac 
cording to the twelve tribes. And again, ver. 36. And 
thou shalt make a Plate of pure gold, and grave upon 
it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE 
LORD. Had letters been invented by MOSES, and un 
known till then to the Israelites, would he not naturally 
have said, when he directed the workmen to engrave 
names and sentences on stones and gold, and in these 
engravings you shall employ the alphabetic characters 
which 1 have now invented and taught you the use of? 
On the contrary, he gives them a very different direc 
tion ; he refers them to a model in familiar use, like 
the engravings of a signet. For the ancient people of 
the East engraved names and sentences on their seals, 
just as the Mahometan princes do at present. 
Mr. Fleuri with great ingenuity confesses the high per 



fection of the arts at this time amongst the Israelites. 
" Us s^avoient tailler & graver les pierres precieuses. 
" Us etoient Menuisiers, Tapissieurs, Brodeurs & Par- 
" furneurs. Entre ces arts, il y en a deux que j admire 
" principalement: la taille des pierreries, la fonte 
" des figures, telles qu 6toient les Cherubins de i Arche 
" le Veau d or. Ceux qui ont tant soit peu connois- 
" sance des arts, scavent cornbien il faut d artifices 
" de machines pour ces ouvrages. Si des-lors on les 
" avoit trouvees, on avoit deja bien raffine, merne dans 
" les arts qui ne servent qu a Fornement; & si Ton 
" avoit quelque secret pour faire les niemes choses plus 
" facilement, c etoit encore une plus grande perfection, 
" ce qui soit dit eri passant, pour montrer que cette an- 
" tiquite si eloignee n etoit pas grossiere & ignorante, 
" comme plusieurs s imaginent/ Moeurs des Israel 
ites, sect. 9. 

P. 163. [XX] A certain anonymous writer, quoted 
by Crinitus from an ancient MS. in his de honest a disci- 
plina, is of this opinion. But I quote him chiefly for 
his pacific disposition to accommodate and compromise 
matters, by giving every nation its share in the glory of 
the invention ; not, I mean, of the alphabetic powers, 
but of the various alphabetic characters: 

cc Moses primus Hebraicas exaravit literas ; 

" Mente Phoenices sagaci condiderunt Atticas; 

( Quas Latini scriptitamus, edidit Nicostrata ; 

( Abraham Syras, & idem repperit Chaldaicas ; 

c Isis arte non minore, protulit ^Egyptiacas : 

" Gulfila promsit Getarum, quas videmus, literas." 

P. 171. [YY] Les Iroquois, comme les Lacedemo- 
niens, veulent un discours vif & concis; leur Style est 
cependant figure, & tout metaphorique. Mceurs des 
Sauvages Ameriquains comparies aux Moeurs des pre 
miers Temps, par Lajitau, torn. i. p. 480. 4to. And of 
the various languages of all the people on that great 
continent in general, he expresseth himself thus, La 
plupart de ces Peuples Occidentaux, quoiqu avec des 
Langues tres differentes, ont cependant a peu pres la 
mme genie, la merne facon de penser, et les rneme 
tours pour s exprimer; torn, ii. p. 48 1 . Condamine gives 



pretty much the same account of the Savages of South 
America. Speaking of their languages he says, plu- 
sieurs sont energiques & susceptible d eloquence, &c. 
p. 54. which can mean no other than that their terms 
are highly figurative. But this is the universal genius 
of the language of Barbarians. Egede, in his History 
of Greenland, says, the Language is very rich of words 
and sense ; and of such ENERGY, that one is often at a 
loss, and puzzled to render it in Danish, p. 165. This 
energy is apparently what the French Missionary calls 
tout metaphorique. Quintilian, speaking of metaphors, 
says, Qua quidem cum ita est ab ipsa nobis concessa 
natura, ut indocti quoque ac non sentientes ea frequenter 
utantur, lib. viii. c. 6. which shews, by the way, that 
Quintilian did not apprehend their true cause or original. 
By all this may be seen how much M. Bullet mistakes 
the matter, where, in his Memoires sur la langue Get- 
tique, he says, " Dans les pays chauds une imagination 
" ardente decouvre aisement la plus petite ressemblance 
" qu une chose peut avoir avec une autre. Elle voit 
<e d abord, par exemple, la report qui se trouve entre 
(C un homme cruel & une bete feroce; et pour faire 
" connoitre qu elle apper^oit cette ressemblance elle 
" donne a cet homme le nom de Tigre. Volla Forigine 
" du langage figure $ metaphorique. Dans les pays 
" froides, ou L imagination n a pas une vivacite pareille, 
"on se sert de terms propres pour exprimer chaque 
" chose, ou appelle tout par son nom." Vol. i. p. 6. 
But we find the fact to be just otherwise. 

P. 171. \7JZI\ Kola JE ra? o^uA/a? jSpa^uAoyot, xal amf- 
jtAaI/a, xal ra -zzroAAa tolvtrlopEvoi <ri/i/xJ 1 o^*xaj^ sroAAa 1 Ae- 
yovlfiff iv uVg/j^oAaK. p. 213. This being the nature and 
genius common to all the barbarous nations upon earth, I 
am almost tempted to believe Geofry of Monmouth, when 
he says, that he translated his worthy history of Britain 
from the Welsh; of which, his original, he gives this 
character, P holler at a verba < ampullosce dictiones . I f 
this was not so, one can hardly tell why he should men 
tion a circumstance that neither recommended his copy 
nor his original. But the character of the ballads of the 
old Welsh Bards fully supports Diodorus s account of the 
style of the ancient Gauls. 

P, 172. 


P. 172. [AAA] But the important use to which the 
very learned the Abbe dc Condlllac has employed all 
that has been here said on this matter, may be seen in 
his excellent Essay on the origin of human Knowledge, 
Part II. which treats of Language. 

P. 1/2. [BBB] Quintilian makes an objector to the 
figurative style argue thus, Antiquissimum quemque 
maxime secundum naturam dixisse contendunt; rnox 
Poetis similiores extitisse, etiamsi parcius, simili tamen 
ratione, falsa & impropria virtutes ducentes. On which 
he observes qua in disputatione non nihil veri est. 
It is true, there is something of truth in it, and indeed, 
not much ; for though the polishers of human speech did, 
as the objector says, turn the improprieties of speech into 
ornament, it is utterly false that the most ancient speakers 
used only simple and proper terms. 

P. 176. [CCC] So I thought: and so it has been ge 
nerally thought. But M. de Beausobre, in his Histoire 
de ManicMe, lib. iv. c. 4. has made it probable, that 
the heretics had no hand in these Abraxas, but that they 
are altogether Pagan. 

P. 176. [DDD] This charm, which the Arabs called 
Talisman or Tsalimam, the later Greeks, when they had 
borrowed the superstition, called 2TOIXEIA; which 
shews of what house they supposed it to have come ; 
roi^sT* being, as we have observed, the technical Greek 
name for hieroglyphic characters. 

P. 176. [EEE] The same error has made the half- 
paganized Marsilius Ficinus fall into the idle conceit, 
that the Golden Calf was only a Talisman: Hebrasi 
quoque (says he) in ^Egypto nutriti, struere vitulum au- 
reurn didicerant, ut eorundem astrologi putant, ad au- 
cupandum veneris lunasque favorem, contra Scorpionis 
atque Martis influxum Judaeis infestum. De Vita Ccelit. 
Com. 1. iii. c. 13. 

P. 177. [FFF] This Discourse on the EGYPTIAN 
HIEROGLYPHICS hath had the same fortune abroad, 



that the Discourse on the BOOK OF JOB hath had at 
home: Like this, it hath heen the occasion of much 
waste paper, and violation of common sense. For the 
Discourse on the Hieroglyphics having been well trans 
lated and well received in* France, both the subject and 
the author became known enough to invite all gentlemen 
scholars, better able to entertain the Public, to oblige 
us with their ingenious conjectures; and many a French 
pen, even to that of a captain of grenadiers, hath^been 
drawn, to shew that the nature of Hieroglyphics ^is yet 
as unknown as ever. A nameless dissertator, sur VEcri- 
ture Hieroglyphique, (who chuses to write, as he him 
self very truly says, in his title-page, sub luce maUgna) 
assures us, "that Hieroglyphics were not a species of 
writing to convey intelligence to the reader, but a mere 
ornament upon stone, to entertain the eye of the specta 
tor: So there is an end of the SUBJECT. The learned 
captain, who wheels in a larger circle, and takes in all 
the wisdom of Egypt, laments with much humanity, the 
superficiality and ignorance of all who have gone before 
him, and their utter incapacity of getting to the source 
of things : So there is an end" of the AUTHOR. Indeed, 
the Journalist who recommends this important work to 
the public seems to have his doubts as to this point 
N est ce pas s avancer im peu trop, (says_ he), ^et peut- 
on dire que MARSHAM pour la Chronologic & 1 Histoire, 
M. WARBURTON pour les Hierogl) phes, & d autres 
scavans ayent neglige de consulter les sources t 
" To say the truth, these wonderful investigators of the 
learning of ancient Egypt, by the mere dint of modern 
ingenuity, had provocation enough to fall upon this un 
lucky Discourse, which no sooner appeared amongst 
them in the fine translation of a very learned French 
lawyer, than the celebrated writers of the Journal cles 
Ssavans, of March 1744, and of Trevoox, of July in 
the same year, announced it to the public in- these terms. 
" II reone (says the first) une si belle aralogie dans^le 
." systeme de Mr. Warburtcn, et toutes ses parties 
" tiennent les unes aux autres par un li^n. si nature!, 
" qu on est porte a croire que I .T ; ;: .ne, >": "es progres 
" -de I ecriture & du language ont etc tels qu il less a de- 
" crits. Le public? doit avoir bien de 1 obligatson au 

" Traduc- 


" Traducteur de lui avoir fait connoitre un Ouvrage si 

" curieux." " M. War burton (says the other) n a pu 

" sans une erudition profonde, une lecture murement 

" digeree et des reflexions infinies trailer avec tant de 

" precision, de justesse et de nettete, un sujet de lui 

" meme si difficile i\ rnettre en oeuvre. Les plus savans 

i( homines se sont laisse seduire sur 1 origine des Hiero- 

" glyphes; et la plupart out regard e un effet du peu 

" d experience des Egyptiens comine un reiinement de 

" la plus rnysterieuse sagesse. C est cette erreur que 

" M. Warburton s applique particulieremont a detruire 

" dans la premiere partie. II le fait de la maniere la 

te plus naturelle. Ce n est point un systeme fonde SUR 

c DES IMAGINATIONS v AGUES. Ses raisonncmens, 

" ses preuves, sont appuiees sur des FA ITS, sur la NA- 

" TURE des choses, & sur LES PRINCIPES LES PLUS 


P. 178. [GGG] Amongst the rest, the author of Sa 
cred and Profane History connected ; who says : " We 
c have no reason to think that -these hieroglyphics 
" [namely, what we call the curiologic] were so ancient 
" as the first letters:" This is his -first answer to the 
opinion that hieroglyphics were more ancient. His se 
cond is in these words : " They would have been a 
" very imperfect character; many, nay Hiost occur- 
" rences, would be represented by them but by halves," 
vol. ii. p. 295. Now this to me appears a very good ar 
gument why hieroglyphics were indeed the jirst rude 
effort towards recording the human conceptions; and 
still, a better, why they could not be the second^ when 
men had already found out the more complete method 
of alphabetic letters. 

P. 179. [HHIi] What hath been said above of the 
reason why Egypt alone continued their hieroglyphic 
characters after the invention of letters, and why all 
other nations thenceforward left them off, will give an 
easy solution to what a curious traveller seems to think 
matter of some wonder, namely, that " the symbolic 
<c learning was the only part of Egyptian wisdom not 
* translated into Greece." [Dr. Shaw s Travels, p. 391.] 

VOL. IV. E E But 


But if this learned man meant not hieroglyphic cha 
racters, but only the mode of Egyptian wisdom employed 
therein, he raises a wonder out of his own mistake : that 
mode was translated mto Greece with the rest ; for the 
precepts of Pythagoras were a fantastic kind of tr,am- 
latlon of hieroglyphic pictures into verbal propositions ; 
and on that account, doubtless, called SYMBOLS: 
(says Plutarch) $1 XT& [o 

c*VTj x&i u-upiiwJW, avaoua$- auwacri ra 

ziroAAa TWV OuOafopixwv "wapufyiXpaTUv, oJov i?i TO Mn 

-arup jtxa^a/pi? rxaXiyfiv iv oixt a. De Is. & 
Os. p. 632. Edit. Steph. 8vo. Aurwea TJ? j3app8 (says 

Clemens Alex.) <piXo<ro<piot,$, -cravu 

zv oixitx, ^ i%*v, wfT*i 

MpoTW, &c. Strom, lib. v. p. 558. Edit. 
Colon. 1688, fol. 

P. 181. [Ill] The reader may now see how inconsi 
derately the learned W. Baxter pronounced upon the 
matter when he said, " The &/> yjpa^wt] of the 
u Egyptians were ?20/< &zcvYe borrowed from the Oni- 
" rocritics, and therefore divine." [App. to his Gloss. 
Antiq. Rom. p. 414.] Nor does the more judicious 
Mr. Daubnz conclude less erroneously, when he sup 
poses that both onirocritic and hieroglyphics stood upou 
one common foundation. But he was misled by Kircher, 
and certain late Greek writers, who pretended that the 
ancient Egyptians had I can t tell what notion of a 
close union between visible bodies in heaven, the invi 
sible deities, and this inferior world, by such a conca 
tenation from the highest to the lowest, that the affections 
of the higher link reached the lower throughout the 
whole chain ; for that the intellectual world is so exact a 
copy and idea of the visible, that nothing is done in the 
visible, but what is decreed before and exemplified in 
the intellectual. [Prelim. Discourse to his Comm. on 
the REVELATIONS.] This was the senseless jargon of 
Jamblichus, Porphyry, Procius, and the rest of that 



fanatic tribe of Pythagorean-Platonists ; and this they 
obtruded on the world for old Egyptian wisdom ; the 
vanity of which pretence has been confuted in the First 
Part. It is hard to say whether these Enthusiasts 
believed themselves, there is such an equal mixture of 
folly and knavery in all their writings: however, it is 
certain, Kircher believed them. 

P. 182. [KKK] But hieroglyphic writing, as we have 
observed, not only furnished rules of interpretation for 
their Onirocritics, but figures of speech for their Ora 
tors. So Isaiah expresseth the king of Assyria s invasion 
of Judea by the stretching out of his WINGS, to fill 
the breadth of the land*: And afterwards, prophesying 
against Egypt and Ethiopia, he says, IVo to the land 
shadowing with wiNGS-f." Most of the interpreters, 
indeed, explain wings to signify the sails of their vessels 
on the Nile: but the expression evidently means., in 
general, the over-shadowing with a mighty power: 
of which wings in hieroglyphic language were the 

P. 182. [LLL] ThusSuidas on the word 2TOIXEIA 


ifo &ca<nv ^a<rai. Artemidorus tells us this was 
the technical word tor the phantasms in dreams : 

TWI/ xal 

> w% rov ptau ^povov 
Wao-xo^s i/af toi Itro^voe, p&Qiiv. O n eir. 
lib. i. cap. 2. And in his fourth book he begins a chap 
ter which he entitles mpl STOIXEinN in this manner : 
t $1 ruv STOIXEIIiN arpoj ra? t7ri(pQoi/u<; f 

itt jw>i IJa7raT>j0>7? yVo TWV TsX^vot. fayofluv tlveu. cap. 3. 

P. 182. [MMM] But the learned Daubuz, in conse 
quence of his trusting to the fanatic notion of the late 
Greek philosophers, supposes that hieroglyphic marks 
* Ch. viii. ver. 8, f Ch. xviii, ver. i. 

s a .were 


were called 2;^**, because the first composers of them 
used the heavenly bodies to represent the notions of their 
minds, there being, according to them, a mystic sympa 
thetic union and analogy between heavenly and earthly 
things ; consequently that Sro^cia, in this use, signifies 
the host of heaven: That it may do so, according to the 
genius of the Greek tongue, he endeavours to prove by 
its coming from r^w, which is a military term, and sig 
nifies to march in order, [p. 10. of the Prel. Disc.] 
But this learned man should on this occasion have re 
membered his own quotation from the excellent Quintilian, 
p. 54. that analogy is not founded upon reason, but ex 
ample. Non rat tone nititur analogic!, sed evemplo, nee 
lex est loqucndi, sed observatio : ut ipsam analogiam nulla 
res aliajecerit, quarn consuetude. Inst. lib. i. cap. 10. 

P. 183. [NNN] Here perhaps I shall be told, with 
the candour I have commonly experienced, that I have 
applied the history of Pharaoh s dream in illustrating the 
old Pagan method of onirocritic for no other purpose than 
to discredit Joseph s prophetic interpretation of it : 
Therefore, though this matter be explained afterwards at 
large, I must here inform the reader, of what every one 
will be content to know, except such as these, who never 
think but to suspect and never suspect but to accuse, 
that when GOD pleases to deal with men by his ministers, 
he generally condescends to treat them according to their 
infirmities ; a method which hath all the marks of highest 
wisdom as well as goodness. Phantasms in dreams were 
superstitiously thought to be. symbolical: GOD, therefore, 
when it was his good pleasure to send dreams to Pharaoh, 
made the foundation of them two well-known symbols; 
and this, doubtless, in order to engage the dreamer s 
more serious attention : But then to confound the 
Egyptian Onirocritics, these dreams were so circum 
stanced with matters foreign to the principles of their art, 
that there was need of a truly divine Interpreter to de 
cipher them. 

P. 184. [GOO] But if you will believe a late writer, 
Animal-worship was so far from coming from Hierogly 
phics, that Hieroglyphics came out of Animal-worship. 



This is an unexpected change of the scene ; but, for our 
comfort, it is only the forced consequence of a false hy 
pothesis, which wiil be well considered in its place : 
" The hieroglyph! cal inscriptions of the Egyptians (says 
" he) are pretty full of the figures of birds, fishes, beasts, 
" and men, with a few letters sometimes between them ; 
" and this alona is sufficient to hint to us, that they 
" could not come into use before the animals, represented 
" in inscriptions of this sort, were become by allegory 
" and mythology capable of expressing various things by 
" their having been variously used in the ceremonies of 
" their religion." Connect, of the Sacred and Profane 
History, vol. ii. p. 294. But if this were the case, How 
came these animals to be so capable of expressing by 
allegory and mythology? or in other words, How came 
they to be the objects of worship ? We are yet to seek ; 
and it must be more than a hint that can supply us with 
a reason. 

P. 188. [PPP] As unanswerable a proof as this ap 
pears to be, that the living Animal was not yet \vor- 
shippeeLin Egypt, (for if it were, what occasion for this 
trouble and expence?) yet a learned German, so oddly 
are men s heads sometimes framed, brings this circum 
stance to prove that the living Animal was at this time 
worshipped in Egypt. Eadem historia Mosaica cultus 
vivoruin animalium in yEgypto, vestigia alia non inficienda, 
turn saepe alias, turn vero omnium darissime in VITULO 
AUREO nobis offert. Jablonski, Pantheon j3gyptorum 
Prolegom. p. 85. 

P. 190. [QQQ] Sis, in the eastern languages, signi 
fied a swallow ; under whose form, as this fable savs, 
Isis concealed herself: and BUBASTE, which signifies a 
cat, was the Egyptian name of Diana, who lay hid under 
that shape. Hence the learned Bochart supposes, in his 
usual way, that the original of this fable was only an 
equivoque of some Greek story-teller, whose countrymen 
delighted in the marvellous. But i. The fable was not 
of Greek invention, if we may believe Diodorus and 
Lucian ; the latter of whom, speaking of the Egyptian 
account of it, says 3 TOWTK y% o/**Xf * lv 

E E 3 


y^ot^ii/lx. srg\v J izrpo ETWV ^uu^/wv, de sacrijiciis. 2. This 
onij places the difficulty a step backward, without re- 
mo viag it : For one might ask, How came the Egyptian 
name of Diana to signify a cat ; or the word Sis or Isis 
to signify a wallow ? Can any ether good reason he 
given, but that these Goddesses were expressed by such 
symbols in hieroglyphic writing? Agreeably to this, 
Horapollo tells us [lib. i. cap. 7.] that the hieroglyphic 
for the soul was a hazvk, which in the Egyptian tongue 
was called Baieth, a word compounded of Bai and 
Eth, the first of which signified, in that language, 
the soul; the other the heart: for according to the 
Egyptians the heart was the inclosure of the soul. But 
if this were the case, what we have given above seems 
the more natural original of the story. 

P. 194. [RRR] Ipsi, qui irridentur, JEgyptn*, nullam 
beluam^ nisi ob aliquam utilitatem, quam ed ta caperent, 
consecraverunt. Ita concludam tomen helms a Barbaris 
propter bemjtcmm coitsecratas. Nat. Deor. 1. i. c. 36. 
This, in the person of Cotta the academic. How ill it 
agrees with what the same Cotta says afterwards, I have 
shewn above : OmneJerZ genus Bestiarum jEgyptii con- 
secraverunt, lib. iii. cap. 1.5. Now this being a fact, and 
the otiier but a speculation, we see the reason has no 
weight The wonder is that Tully should not see it. 
But the notion was plausible, and antiquity seemed 
enamoured of it. \\hen Plutarch [Is. & Os.] had said, 
the Jews worshipped swine ; not content with this simple 
calumny, he invents a reason for it ; and takes up this 
which lay so commodious for these occasions ; namely, 
gratitude to that animal for having taught men to plough 
the ground. 

P. 194. [SSS] A passage in Eusebius strongly con 
firms our opinion of the origin of brute-worship ; and, 
consequently, accounts for the adoration paid to noxious 
animals : *O St #U*TOS zs-aAt^ -nrfJt ruv &QWIKUV roifiuv IK ruv 


t.o A ^^^ X 1 VA \* -vflv^ ^ \ \ > r ^ 

tXti) pyopai/ at *j Atjarjv .OK ai/ rov dii(raAt/>] *$ ^CCAETTOV tov "Xf*/* 

8V T 


o Taau](P, xa) JWET* ocvrov auOt? $0wxe? T xai AtyvTrJjot. [Pr. 
Evang. lib. i.] Consider again what he [Philo\ says 
in his translation of Sanchoniathds discourse of the Phoe 
nician elements, concerning certain reptiles and other 
venomous animals, which not only bring no benefit to 
??ian, but convey certain fnischief and destruction on 
whomsoever they shed their deadly venom. These are his 
very words. Taautus therefore consecrated the species 
of dragons and serpents, and the Phoenicians and Egyptians 
followed him in this superstition. The quotation from 
Philo then goes on to shew, from the nature of the 
serpent-kind, why it was made a symbol of the Divinity. 
The discourse of Sanchoniathon . here mentioned, as 
translated by Philo, was part of a larger work, which he 
wrote concerning the Phoenician and Egyptian wisdom 
and learning, and treated oi hieroglyphic characters, as 
appears from the title of $ow xwv 2TOIXEIHN, which lat 
ter word I have shewn to be the technical term for hiero 
glyphics : but how a digression concerning the conse 
cration of noxious animals should come into this dis 
course, unless the author understood hieroglyphics to be 
the origin of brute-worship, is difficult to conceive. 

P. 198. [TTT] And it is remarkable that this, which 
was done to hide the ignominy of vulgar Paganism, the 
advocates of the Church of Rome have lately revived, to 
hide the ignominy of vulgar Popery, in their saint- 
worship : nothing having been of late more fashionable 
amongst the French Philologists than the contending 
against that most established doctrine of early Antiquity, . 
that the greater Gods of Paganism were all dead men 
deified. II soit ais6 de prouver (says one of them) que, 
de tous les Dieux du Paganisme, Hercule, Castor & 
Pollux sont les seuls qui aient ete veritablement des 
hommes. Hist, de FAcademie Royale des Inscript c. 
torn, xxiii. p. 17. 

P. 200. [UUU] Winckelman, in his Histoire de 1 Art 
chezJes Anciens, vol. i. p. 97, says I am mistaken, in 
supposing it to be made at Rome. And that this is an 
opinion I have adopted without any foundation il ne 
paroit avoir adopte cette opinion, destitute de fondement, 

E E 4 que 


que parce qu elle cadre avec son systeme. That I told 
my opinion, because it quadrated with iny system, is 
certain. But that it is not without foundation he might 
have understood by the very hint I gave of the devotees of 
Isis in Rome. These were very numerous, and had the 
liberty of celebrating their own country rites. And when 
they had this, it would be hard upon them not to permit 
a Roman Artificer to make them one of the proper im 
plements of their worship, and decent furniture for their 
Temple. The Jews at the same time had the like indul 
gence in Rome, and without doubt made the like use of 
it in directing Roman workmen to make them utensils 
like these, once employed in their Temple worship. 
Now should one of these chance to fall into the hands 
of an antiquarian of the size of Winckelman, he would 
say they could never have been made at Rome, but at 
Jerusalem, for that they were intirely different from the 
style of the Roman school. And this wise remark 
Winckelman makes with regard to the Bembine Table 
les Hieroglyphes qui s y trouvent, et qu on ne voit sur 
aucun ouvrage imife par les Kornains, en prpuvant Fan- 
tiquite et refutent d avance, tons les sentimens qui pour- 
roient y tre contraires. But after all, how does he know 
but that the Romans might be at one time as fond of 
Egyptian Hieroglyphics, as we in England (whom he says 
have neither art nor taste) have lately been of Chinese 
jiligrane? Would he therefore, because there is cer 
tainly as wide a difference between the Chinese and the 
English style as there was between the Egyptian and the 
Roman, deprive us of a, fashipn which we liave been at 
so much pains to make our own ? They seem to have 
been fond enough of Hieroglyphics when they were at so 
much cost and labour of transporting to Rome the gigan 
tic Obelisques covered all over with them. And though 
the grandees procured these for their bulk, and not for 
their literature, the common people might mistake, and 
grow fond of these overbearing strangers, for the sake of 
their imputed learning, which they might t-ake upon trust, 
and be ready to transcribe into smaller volumes, such as 
the Bembine Table. In a word, the good man, with all 
the advantage of eye- sight je n ai parle, says he, que 
de ee que j ai vu has not been able to distinguish be 


tween works which a Roman artificer was employed to 
make for a Barbarian customer, and those he made ac 
cording to his own fancy, or on Grecian rules, to please 
the more elegant taste of his own countrymen. 

P. 207. [XXX] To this I shall be bold to add one or 
two more : For though Antiquity be full and clear in this 
matter, yet lest it should be said, that as the Greeks talk 
of things done long before their time, it might very well be 
that, for the credit of the God, tradition would pretend a 
very early deification, how short soever, in reaiitv, of 
the age of the hero ; lest this, I say, should be objected, 
I shall give an instance or two of the fact from contem 
porary evidence. God speaking by the prophet to the 
king of Tyre says : Thine heart is lifted up, and thou 
hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God in the 
midst of the seas ; yet thou art a man and not God. 
Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am a 
God ? but thou shaft be a man and no God, in the hand 
of him that slayeth thee. Ezek. xxviii. 2 9. This I 
understand to denote a real worship paid to the living 
king of Tyre, by his idolatrous subjects : it is not unlikely 
but he afterwards became one of the Greek Neptunes. 
The Rabbins seem to have understood the text in this 
sense, when, as Jerom observes, they made him to have 
lived a thousand years. For the Egyptians taught (whose 
ceremonial of the apotheosis was followed by the rest of 
the nations) that their first God-Kings reigned a thousand 
or twelve hundred years apiece. Mu0oAoy<n (says Diodo- 
rus) $1 xal ruv Sttev TH? <x,px / o(,iol(x,TZ$fix<ri\i\j<ro<,i TzrAfico TWV p^tA/wi/ 
xa? fiomoffiuv Irwv. p. 15. We have already taken notice 
of Odin and his early consecration. But Tacitus assures 
us, it was a general custom amongst the Northern Bar 
barians to deify without loss of time : and this not in jest, 
like their contemporary Romans. For speaking of the 
German nations he says : Ea virgo [Velledal nationis 
Bructerce late imperitabat : VET ERE apud Germanos 
MORE, quo^ plerasque feminarum fatidicas & augcscente 
superstitione, arbitrentur DEAS, lib. iv. hist. And again 
of the same heroine : Vidimus DIVO Vespasiano Velledam, 
diu apud plerosque NU MINIS LOCO habit am. Sed 8$ olim 
Auriniam, ( complures alias venerati sunt, NON ADU- 




jbistorian hints at the mock deifications in Rome, and in 
sinuates, that these in Germany were of another nature, 
and believed in good earnest. 

P. 213. [YYY] This paradox, as we say, is advanced 
in defiance of Antiquity. The Mysteries, in their secret 
communications, taught that ALL THE NATIONAL GODS 
WERE DEAD MEN DEIFIED. Of this we are assured by 
the express testimony of the most learned ancients, both 
Gentile and Christian; Cicero, Julius Firmicus, Plutarch, 
EusebiuSj Clemens Alexandrinus, Cyprian, and St. 
Austin. See the First Part of the Divine Legation. 
And will this author pretend to say, that the institutors of 
the Mysteries did not know the true original of their na 
tional Gods ? But we have much more than their bare 
testimony ; almost every rile in the ancient worship of 
these Gods declared them to be DEAD MORTALS : such 
as the solemn mournings and lamentutions with which they 
began their celebrations ; the custom of never coming to 
worship empty-handed, but with a present, as was the 
Eastern use when they approached their princes ; the 
building sumptuous houses for their Gods, and setting 
meat before them for their refreshment; with a number 
of other domestic usages, too tedious to dwell upon. 
Thus the clearest facts and most creditable testimony 
concur to support this notorious truth ; a truth, which 
they who most eagerly defended Paganism, and they who 
most maliciously undermined it ; as well the ministers 
of the Mysteries, as Euhemerus and his followers, equally 
allowed. On what - then is this author s paradox sup 
ported ? On the common foundation of most modern 
philologic systems, ETYMOLOGIES; which, like fungous 
excrescencies, spring up from old Hebrew roots, mytho- 
logicaliy cultivated. To be let into this new method of 
improving barren sense, we are to understand, that in the 
ancient oriental tongues the few primitive words must 
needs bear many different significations ; and the nume 
rous derivatives be infinitely equivocal. Hence any 
thing may be made of Greek proper names, by turning 
them to Oriental sounds, so as to suit every system past, 
present, and to come. To render this familiar to the 



reader by example : M. Pluche s system is, that the Gen 
tile Gods came from Agriculture : All he wants then, is 
to pick out (consonant to the Greek proper names) He 
brew words which signify a plough, tillage, wears of corn ; 
and so his business is done. Another comes, let it be 
Fourmont, aud he brings news, that the Greek Gods 
were Moses or Abraham ; and the same ductile sounds 
produce, from the same primitive words, a chief, a leader y 
or a true believer ; and then, to use his words, Nier 
quil s*t!gi*se id du seul Abraham, cest etre aveugie a" es 
prit 4 (fun aveuglemtnt irremediable. A third and 
fourth appear upon the scene, suppose them, Le Clerc 
and Bannier ; who, prompted by the learned Bochart, say, 
that the Greek Gods were only Phenician voyagers; and 
then, from the same ready sources, flow navigation, 
ships, and negociators. And when any one is at a loss in 
this game of crambo, which can never happen but by 
being duller than ordinary, the kindred dialects of the 
Chaldee and Arabic lie always ready to make up their 
deficiencies. To give an instance of all this in the case 
of poor distressed OSIRIS, whom hostile Critics have 
driven from his family and friends, and reduced to a mere 
vagabond upon earth. M. Pluche derives his name from 
Ochosi-erets, domaine de la terre ; Mr. Fourmont from 
H :scheiri, habitant de Seir, the dwelling of Esau, who is 
his Osiris ; and Vossius from thicker or Sior, one of the 
scripture names for the Nile. I have heard of an old 
humorist, and a great dealer in etymologies, who boast 
ed, That he not only knew whence Words came, but 
whither they were going. And indeed, on any system- 
maker s telling me his Scheme, I will undertake to shew 
whither all his old words are going : for in strict propriety 
of speech they cannot be said to be coming from butg-0- 
ing to some old Hebrew root. There are certain follies 
(of which this seems to be in the number) whose ridicule 
strikes so strongly, that it is felt even by those who are 
most subject to commit them. Who that has read M. 
Huet s Demonstratio Evangelica, would have expected 
to see him satirise, with so much spirit, the very nonsense 
with which his own learned book abounds ? Le veritable 
usage de la connoissance des langues tant perdu, Tabus 
y a succde*. On s en est servi pour ETYMOLOGISER 



on veut trouver dans 1 Hebreu et ses dialectes la source 
de tous les mots et de tontes les langues, toutes les bar- 
bares et etranges qu elles puissent tre Se presente t-il 
un norri de quelque Roi d Ecosse ou de Norve*ge, on se 
met aux champs avec es conjectures ; on en va chercher" 
1 origine dans la Palestine. A-t-on de la peine a 1 y ren- 
coutrer ? On passe en Babylone. Ne s y trouve-il point, 
1 Arabie n est pas loin : & en un besoin meme on pousse- 
roit jusqu en Ethiopie, plutot que de se trouver court 
d ETYMOLOGiEs : et Ton battant de pais qu il est impos 
sible enfin qu on ne trouve un mot qui ait quelque con- 
venance de lettres et de son avec celui, dont on cherche 
1 origine. Par cet art on trouve daj>s FHebreu ou ses 
dialectes, 1 origine des noms du Roi Artur, & tous les 
Chevaliers de la Table ronde ; de Charlemagne, des 
douze pairs de France ; et merne en un besoin de tous 
les Yncas du Perou. Par cet art, un Allemand que j ai 
connu, prouvoit que Priam avoitete le meme qu Abraham ; 
et /Eneas le meme que Jonas. Lettre au Bochart. On 
such subjects as these, however, this trifling can do no 
great harm. But when, by a strange fatality of the times, 
it is transferred from matters of profane Antiquity" to such 
important questions as the redemption of mankind, and 
faith in the Messiah, we are ready to execrate a Caballis- 
tic madness which exposes our holy religion to the scorn 
and derision of every unbeliever, whose bad principles 
have not yet deprived him of all remains of common 

P. 233. [ZZZ] As Sir Isaac s own words seem so much 
to shake his system, I shall quote them at length : " The 
" lower part of Egypt being yearly overflowed by the 
" Nile, was scarce inhabited before the invention of corn, 
" which made it useful : and the king, who by this in- 
" vention first peopled it and reigned over it, perhaps 
cc the king of the city Mesir, where Memphis was after- 
" wards built, seems to have been worshipped by his 
" subjects after death, in the ox or calf, for this bene- 
" faction." p. 197, 198. 

P 233. [AAAA] I apprehend such mistakes were 
pretty general in the traditional accounts of nations, con 


cerning their early times. Garcillasso s history of the 
YNCAS affords us just such another instance. " Us 
" pretendent (says the French translator) qu un de leur 
" Rois fut un grand Legislateur, Us disent de plus, 
" qu il fut un excellent capitaine, qui conquit un grand 
" nombre de Provinces de Royaumes. Mais pour le 
" tirer de ce Labyrinte, ils attribiient au premier Ynca 
" tons ces choses, tant pour ce qui est de leurs Loix, que 
" du fondement de leur Empire." Vol. i. p. 150. 

P. 238. [BBBB] Julius Caesar had so little doubt of 
this matter, that speaking of the Gauls, he says, Deum 
maxime Mercurium colunt Post kunc, Apollinem < 
Martem 8$ Jovem sf-Minervam. De his eandem fore, 
quam reliqu& gentcs, habent opinionem. De Bell. Gall. 
1. vi. sect. 15. The reason he gives is, that the several 
Gods of Gaul had attributes correspondent to those of 
Greece and Rome. Hence he, and most other writers, 
concluded them to be the same. So Tacitus observes 
of the Germans, that they worshipped Mercury, Hercules, 
and Mars, deorum maxime Mercurium colunt Herculem 
ac Martem concessis animalibus placant. [De mor, Ger. 
c. ix.] and speaking of the JEstii, a nation of ,the Suevians, 
he says, they worshipped the mother of the Gods Ergo 
jam dextro Suevici marls lit tore, JEstiorum gentes ad- 
luuntur : quibus ritus habit-usque Sueyorym, lingua *Bri- 
tanriicce propior. Matrem Deum venerantur. [c. 45.] 
But this Mother of the Gods was, as we learn from the 
ancient Northern Chronicles, an idol peculiar to those 
people, called Solotta Babba, or the golden woman. Yet 
as she most resembled the Mother of the Gods, she is 
called so by Tacitus without any hesitation : who yet, in 
another place, speaking of the worship paid to Castor 
and Pollux amongst this people, gives us to understand 
by his expression that no more was meant than that the 
Germans had a couple of Gods, whose attributes and 
relation to one another bore a resemblance to the Greek 
and Roman Dioscuri. " Prassiclet sacerdos muliabri 
" ornatu, sed Deos, inter pretatione Romana, Castorem 
" Pollucemque inernorant." [c. 43.] But what greatly 
confirms our opinion is, that, when these people were 
converted from Paganism to the Christian faith, their- 



Convertists, who had the best opportunities and fittest 
occasion to enquire thoroughly into the state of their 
superstition, found neither GreeK nor Roman Gods 
amongst them; but Idols of their own growth only. 
And though, indeed, the vulgar herd of Antiquarians, 
misled by the Classic writers, are wont to speak after 
them, in this matter, yet the most learned investigators 
of the history of this people expressly affirm the con 
trary. Of whohi I need only mention the celebrated 
Saxo Grammaticus, who says, " Eos qui a nostris cole- 
" bantur non esse quos Romanomm vetustissimi Jovem 
" Mercuriumque dixere, vel quibus Grreci Latiuinque 
" plenum superstitionis obsequium exsolverunt, ex ipsa 
" Iiquid6 feriarum appellatione coliigitur." Hist. Dan. 
1. vi. But Tacitus has recorded a circumstance which 
fully evinces the mistake of this supposed identity. For 
when he had told us that the Germans worshipped Mer 
cury, Hercules, Mars, &c. he immediately adds, that they 
did not worship their Gods in Temples, nor under a 
Human figure. Ceterum nee cohibere parietibus deos, 
neque in ullam humani oris speciem assimilare ex magni- 
tudine^ coelestium arbitrantur. [c. ix.] I quote the. words 
for the fact. The reason seems to be a conjecture of 
his own. Now if the Germans had borrowed their Mer 
cury, Hercules, and Mars, from Greece and Rome, they 
probably would have worshipped them in Temples ; most 
certainly, under a Human form. And, what is strangest 
of all, Tacitus himself afterwards, in the case of the 
Naharvali, seems to be sensible of this ; for having told 
us that they worshipped two young Brother Gods, which 
the Romans conjectured to be Castor and Pollux, he 
makes the following observation, as seeming to dissent 
from them. Nulla SIMULACRA, nullum peregrine super 
stitionis vestigium, c. xliii. 

A celebrated French author, M. Freret, has borrowed 
and adopted. this system. He holds with me, that the 
Gods of these Barbarians were not the same with the 
Greek and Roman Gods ; and that the nustake arose 
from the resemblance between their attributes, which he 
shews, in the manner I have done (and I suppose from 
the observations I had mane) must needs be alike. 
" Chaque Dieu dans toute religion Polytheiste avoit son 

^ district, 


" district, ses occupations, son caractere, &c. Le par- 
" tage avoit ete re gie stir les passions & sur ies besoins 
" des hommes : et comrne leurs passions & leurs besoins 
" sont les memes par tout, les departemens des Dieux 
" barbares avoient necessairenaent du rapport avec ceux 
" des divinites de la Grece. II failoit par tout une intel- 
" ligence qui gouvernat le ciel, & qui lancat le tonnerre. 
" II en failoit d autres pour gouverner les 6i6mens, pour 
<c pr^sider a la guerre, au commerce, a la paix, &c. La 
" conformit6 des emplois entralnoit une ressemblance 
" d attributs : & c etoit sur ce fondement, que les Grecs 
" & ies Romains donnoient les noms de leurs Dieux aux 
" divinites des Barbaras/ Voiez M. de la Bleterie, ses 
remarques sur la Germanie de Tacit p. 135. 

In conclusion; the learned reader will remark, that 
this is a species of that general conformity which I had 
observed is commonly ascribed to imitation, when in 
truth its source is in our common nature, and the similar 
circumstances in which the partakers of it are generally 
found. Here again I have the pleasure of finding this 
M. Freret agree with me in this general principle, as 
before in the particular system of polytheism here ad 
vanced. " II seroit utile, dit M. Freret, de rassembler 
" les conformites qui se trouvent entre des nations qu on 
" sait n avoir jamais eu de commeree ensemble. Ces 
" exemples pourroient rendre les critiques un peu moins 
" hardis a supposer qu une nation a emprunte certains 
" opinions & certains coutumcs d une autre nation, dont 
" elle etoit separee par une tr^s-grande distance, & avec 
" qui Ton ne voit point qu elie ait jamais eu la moindre 
c< communication." See M. de la Bleterie, p. 168. and 
compare it with what I had said many years before at 
the end of the last section of this Fourth Book. When 
I reflect upon the honours of this kind, which several 
writers of this humane nation have done me in silence, it 
puts me in mind of what Muret. says of Macrobius on 
the like occasion, ut appareat eum factitasse eandem 
artem, quam plerique hoc sasculo faciunt, qui ita humani 
a se nihil alienum putant, ut alienis aeque utantur ac suis. 

P. 239. [CCCC] It is remarkable, that though Hero 
dotus tells us, these ?elasgians, before their knowledge or 



admission of the Egyptian names > sacrificed to their Gods, 
^EOuov $\ Tffdflu vporspov ofts nAoV],.yet when they had 
admitted these names, he gives the matter of sacrificing 
as one change which this admission had introduced; from 
that time, says he, they sacrificed [dvo p\v WTT T 
%povx 0uov], A passage in Julius Caesar will explain 
this difficulty: , After he had given an account of the Gods 
of the Gauls, who, living under a civil Policy, worshipped 
Hero-gods; he goes on to those of the uncivilized Ger 
mans, which, he tells us, were only the celestial Lumina 
ries and Elements. Deorum numero eos solos ducunt, 
quos cernunt, fy quorum opibus aperte jwvantur; Soletn 
8f Vulcanum 4 Lunam. Reliquos ne Jama quidem ac- 
ceperunt. DeBell. Gall. vi. sect. 19. The very Gods, 
as we observed, -of all the uncivilized idolaters upon earth. 
Now of these Barbarians he adds, Neque Druides ha- 
bent) qui rebus d roinis prtfsint; neque SACRTFICIIS 
STUDENT. They were not nice and exact in the matter 
of sacrificing: and no wonder, for he tells us, they had 
no Priests. Now Herodotus, speaking of his Barbarians, 
informs us of the same thing, though in other words, and 
on a different occasion. They sacrificed, says he, every 
thing without distinction ; this was the neque sacrijiciis 
student of Caesar. But when they came to use the names 
of the Egyptian Gods, then eOuov, they sacrificed, i. e. 
made a study of it, had a large Ritual concerning it, and 
no longer sacrificed without distinction. For these names 
being expressive of each God s peculiar nature, qualities, 
and dispositions, soon introduced a distinction of sacri 
fices, according to the imaginary agreement or disagree 
ment between the subject and the object. 

P. 240. [DDDD] This communication of names (from 
whence the men we are arguing against inferred, that the 
Grecian Gods were originally Egyptian) made another